University of Vermont

College of Medicine

Department of Surgery

Dr. Gerald Mingin's NIH Funded Research in Pediatric Urology

Dr. Gerry Mingin (left) examines an infant
Dr. Mingin (left) examines an infant

As a pediatric urologist I see children with both over and underactive bladder. The clinical symptoms range from frequent voiding to urinary incontinence and Urinary tract infection.  As our society places more demands on families, there are increased stressors which affect our children and their physical well-being. The notion that a mind–body interaction can have a profound effect on an organ system is not new however, the role that stress plays in bladder dysfunction is an emerging clinical concept.  Recently I was awarded a prestigious NIH K08 award to study the effect that social stress has on bladder function in mice. With the help and guidance of doctors Mark Nelson in Pharmacology and Margaret Vizzard in Neuroscience I have developed a mouse model of voiding dysfunction which closely parallels the pathology seen in children whom are exposed to both infrequent as well as chronic periods of stress.

The past six months have brought several exciting findings. I have demonstrated that moderate social stress leads to mice that have an overactive bladder, while severe stress mimics urinary retention.  The severe stress model of urinary retention at least on preliminary investigation appears to be quite different from what has been seen in bladder outlet obstruction a (form of urinary retention). In the former the bladder is super compliant and in the later we have bladder hypertrophy with decreased compliance.  It is clear that social stress has a distinct end organ effect, how much of this effect is centrally mediated is still not clear. Mechanistically much work remains, but therein lies the challenge that motivates me. Stay tuned!