Sympathetic vesicovascular reflex induced by acute urinary retention evokes proinflammatory and proapoptotic injury in rat liver

Hong Jeng Yu, Bor Ru Lin, Hsuan Su Lee, Chia Tung Shun, Chih Ching Yang, Ting Yu Lai, Chiang Ting Chien*, Su Ming Hsu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Citations (Scopus)


Increased hepatic sympathetic activity affects hepatic metabolism and hemodynamics and subsequently causes acute hepatic injury. We examined whether the vesicovascular reflex evoked by bladder over-distension could affect hepatic function, specifically reactive oxygen species (ROS)-induced inflammation and apoptosis, through activation of the hepatic sympathetic nerve. We evaluated the hepatic hemodynamics, hepatic sympathetic nervous activities, and cystometrograms in anesthetized rats subjected to acute urinary retention. We used a chemiluminescence method, an in situ nitro blue tetrazolium perfusion technique, and a DNA fragmentation/apoptosis-related protein assay to demonstrate de novo and colocalize superoxide production and apoptosis formation in rat liver. Acute urinary retention increased the hepatic sympathetic-dependent vesicovascular reflex, which caused hepatic vasoconstriction/hypoxia and increased superoxide anion production from the periportal Kupffer cells and hepatocytes, which were aggravated by the increase in volume and duration of urinary retention. The ROS-enhanced proinflammatory NF-κB, activator protein-1, and ICAM-1 expression also promoted proapoptotic mechanisms, including increases in the Bax/Bcl-2 ratio, CEP32 expression, poly-(ADP-ribose)-polymerase cleavages, and DNA fragmentation and apoptotic cells in the liver. The proinflammatory and proapoptotic mechanisms were significantly attenuated in rats treated with hepatic sympathetic nerve denervation or catechin (antioxidant) supplement. In conclusion, our results suggest that acute urine retention enhances hepatic sympathetic activity, which causes hepatic vasoconstriction and evokes proinflammatory and proapoptotic oxidative injury in the rat liver. Reduction of the hepatic sympathetic tone or antioxidant supplement significantly attenuates these injuries.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)F1005-F1014
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Renal Physiology
Issue number5 57-5
Publication statusPublished - 2005 May
Externally publishedYes


  • Apoptosis
  • Reactive oxygen species

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Urology


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