Chitosan and the urothelial barrier: Effects on ureteral intraluminal drug penetration and peristalsis

Donald L. Pick, Stanislav Shelkovnikov, Noah Canvasser, Michael K. Louie, Jane Tongson-Ignacio, Elspeth M. McDougall, Ralph V. Clayman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Introduction: Relaxing the ureter prior to endourologic procedures could ease instrument access. In an ex-vivo model, intraluminal nifedipine has been shown to relax the ureter. Chitosan is the deacetylation product of chitin and can alter bladder urothelium. This study examines the effect of nifedipine on peristalsis before and after pretreating the ureter with chitosan. Methods: Intact 4-cm tubular porcine ureteral segments were placed in a novel organ bath. To induce peristalsis, phenylephrine (10 μM) was added. Chitosan (0.5% [w/v], 30 minutes) or Krebs (control) was then used to treat the urothelium. The rate and amplitude of ureteral peristalsis was then measured. Intraluminal nifedipine (1 μM) was then added to the intraluminal reservoir. Peristaltic rate and amplitude and the time to aperistalsis were measured. Methylene blue was then added after treatment with chitosan or control to measure diffusion. Results: After Krebs pretreatment, intraluminal nifedipine (1 μM) significantly reduced peristaltic frequency (p = 0.0184) but did not stop peristalsis after 60 minutes of exposure in six trials. After chitosan, nifedipine (1 μM) stopped ureteral peristalsis within an average of 12.30 ± 4.72 minutes. Chitosan alone did not cause aperistalsis. Intraluminal methylene blue did not diffuse into the extraluminal bath after saline or chitosan pretreatment. Histological analysis of the ureter before and after pretreatment with chitosan showed no urothelial disruption. Conclusions: By pretreating the intraluminal surface of the ureter with chitosan, nifedipine blocks ureteral peristalsis at low concentrations. Chitosan changes ureteral urothelial permeability without barrier disruption and has no observed effect on ureteral contraction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)385-390
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Endourology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2011
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Urology
  • Medicine(all)


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