The number of ketamine abusers has increased significantly recently. Ketamine abusers exhibit urinary frequency, urgency, and at times urinary incontinence. Our aim was to investigate the role of transcription factor NF-κB and cyclooxygenase (COX)-2 in ketamine-induced cystitis. Sprague-Dawley rats were distributed into three groups, which received saline or treatment with ketamine or ketamine combined with a Cox-2 inhibitor (parecoxib). In addition, the toxic effect of ketamine and its metabolites were examined by primary urothelial cell culture. The ketamine-treated group displayed bladder hyperactivity and decreased bladder capacity. Treatment with ketamine + COX-2 inhibitor prevented these bladder dysfunctions. These bladder dysfunctions were accompanied by increases in the expression of NF-κB and COX-2 at the protein and mRNA levels. Ketamine treatment also enhanced bladder interstitial fibrosis, whereas ketamine + Cox-2 inhibitor decreased the intensity of fibrosis. Treatment of primary urothelial cells in vitro with ketamine or urine obtained from ketamine-treated rats stimulated the expression of NF-κB p65 and COX-2. Ketamine also initiated NF-κB translocation from cell cytoplasm to nucleus. Treatment with NF-κB inhibitor suppressed Cox-2 mRNA expression. Promoter-deletion analysis revealed that NF-κB was a necessary transcription factor for COX-2 gene (Ptgs2) activation. These results demonstrate that the regulation of COX-2 via the NF-κB pathway is involved in the inflammatory signaling of ketamine-induced cystitis in rat urinary bladder.
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