• COX-2;
  • COX-1;
  • ureter peristalsis;
  • ureteric calculi

Background and purpose:

Anti-inflammatory drugs are used in the treatment of acute renal colic. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of selective COX-2 inhibitors and the non-selective COX inhibitor diclofenac on contractility of human and porcine ureters in vitro and in vivo, respectively. COX-1 and COX-2 receptors were identified in human ureter and kidney.

Experimental approach:

Human ureter samples were used alongside an in vivo pig model with or without partial ureteral obstruction. COX-1 and COX-2 receptors were located in human ureters by immunohistochemistry.

Key results:

Diclofenac and valdecoxib significantly decreased the amplitude of electrically-stimulated contractions in human ureters in vitro, the maximal effect (Vmax) being 120 and 14%, respectively. Valdecoxib was more potent in proximal specimens of human ureter (EC50=7.3 × 10−11 M) than in distal specimens (EC50=7.4 × 10−10 M), and the Vmax was more marked in distal specimens (22.5%) than in proximal specimens (8.0%) in vitro. In the in vivo pig model, parecoxib, when compared to the effect of its solvent, significantly decreased the maximal amplitude of contractions (Amax) in non-obstructed ureters but not in obstructed ureters. Diclofenac had no effect on spontaneous contractions of porcine ureter in vivo. COX-1 and COX-2 receptors were found to be expressed in proximal and distal human ureter and in tubulus epithelia of the kidney.

Conclusions and implications:

Selective COX-2 inhibitors decrease the contractility of non-obstructed, but not obstructed, ureters of the pig in vivo, but have a minimal effect on electrically-induced contractions of human ureters in vitro.

British Journal of Pharmacology (2008) 154, 1297–1307; doi:10.1038/bjp.2008.193; published online 26 May 2008