Effects of ethanol and its metabolite acetaldehyde on responses of the rat bladder

H. J. Kim, H. Moon, I. Sohng, H. W. Lee, G. Lee, J. G. Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Objective. To investigate the pharmacological effects of ethanol and its metabolite acetaldehyde on isolated rat bladder muscle, and thus assess the potential influence of ethanol ingestion on the risk of urinary retention in patients with benign prostatic hyperplasia. Materials and methods. Isometric tension changes of isolated rat bladder muscle strips were recorded in an organ bath using a pressure transducer. The acute or prolonged effects of ethanol (1-4%) or acetaldehyde (0.01. 0.1 or 1 mmol/L) were assessed on resting tension, electrical field stimulation (EFS), and bethanechol- (0.5 mmol/L), ATP-(2 mmol/L) or KCl-(127 mmol/L) induced contraction. To determine the mechanism of acetaldehyde-induced stimulation, an antihistamine, diphenhydramine was used after bethanechol stimulation. Results. At the concentrations used, ethanol and acetaldehyde did not change the pH of the bathing medium. The resting tension of the muscle was not changed by ethanol, and acetaldehyde caused only a small increase in baseline tone at 1 mmol/L. Incubation with ethanol or acetaldehyde significantly suppressed contractility induced by EFS, bethanechol, ATP or KCl at each concentration (P < 0.05). Contractions induced by all drugs were not changed significantly by the acute application of ethanol and the acute application of acetaldehyde did not affect contractions induced by ATP or KCl. However, EFS or bethanechol-induced contractions were significantly enhanced (P < 0.05). The acetaldehyde-induced effects were completely blocked by the H1 antagonist, diphenhydramine (10 μmol/L). Conclusions. Ethanol did not affect resting tension but acetaldehyde and ethanol suppressed bladder muscle contractions. However, direct acetaldehyde-stimulation may release histamine and enhance contractility. This suggests that chronic alcoholism rather than acute intoxication is more likely to provoke urinary retention.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)686-692
Number of pages7
JournalBJU International
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • Acetaldehyde
  • Bladder contraction
  • Ethanol
  • Urinary retention

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Urology


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