Regional differences in sensory innervation and suburothelial interstitial cells in the bladder neck and urethra.
ABSTRACT To identify and characterize possible structural specialisations in the wall of the lower urinary tract (LUT) in the region of the bladder urethral junction (BUJ), with the specific objective of identifying regional variations in sensory nerve fibres and interstitial cells (ICs).
The bladder base and urethra was removed from five male guinea pigs killed by cervical dislocation. Tissue pieces were incubated in Krebs' solution at 36 degrees C, gassed with 95% O(2) and 5% CO(2), fixed in 4% paraformaldehyde and processed for immunohistochemistry. The nonspecific marker vimentin and the general neuronal marker protein gene product (PGP) 9.5 were used to identify ICs and nerve fibres, respectively. Specific antibody binding was visualized using the appropriate secondary antibodies.
The wall of the LUT in the region immediately between the bladder base and the urethra, the BUJ, differed in its cellular composition relative to the adjacent areas. PGP-positive (PGP(+)) nerve fibres, presumptive afferent fibres, lay within the urothelium running between the epithelial cells. There were two general nerve patterns: branching fibres with no varicosities, and complex fibres with varicosities. Fibre collaterals with varicosities exited the urothelium and occupied the space under the urothelium adjacent to the layer of suburothelial ICs. The latter, lamina propria and around the muscle bundles were identified using vimentin (vim(+)). In the base a few vim(+) cells were also PGP(+). In the region of the BUJ there was a decrease in the amount of smooth muscle. In this region, below the lamina propria, there was an area densely populated with vim(+)/PGP(+) ICs. Nerve fibres ran between the cells in this region.
These structural specialisations within the urothelium and deeper layers of the BUJ suggest that they might be associated with specific functions. The localized highly branched network of the putative afferent nerves suggests the presence of a local axonal reflexes involving possible cross-talk between the urothelium and suburothelial layer. The function of the specialized region of ICs is not known and must await further information on the functional properties of this novel cell type. These observations show further the cellular heterogeneity of the cells in the LUT and the complexity of the structures. One of the major current challenges in functional urology is to understand the relationships between these novel structures and overall bladder and urethral function.
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ABSTRACT: C-Kit positive interstitial cells of Cajal (ICC) play an important role in the regulation of the smooth muscle motility, acting as internal pacemakers to provide the slow wave activity within various luminal organs. Recently c-Kit-(CD117)-positive interstitial cells (IC) have been shown in the genitourinary tract, but systematic studies on the distribution and density of IC within the urinary tract are still lacking. Therefore the aim of the present study was to analyze systematically the localization and distribution of the c-Kit receptor in the urinary tract of the pig using immunohistochemical and molecular methods. Tissue samples were harvested from the porcine urinary tract including renal calices and pelvis, ureteropelvic junction, proximal, middle and distal ureter, ureteral orifice, fundus, and corpus of the bladder and the internal urethral orifice. Small and large intestine specimen served as controls. Immunohistochemistry (APAAP, IF) was applied on serial frozen sections using four monoclonal and polyclonal antibodies recognizing CD117. Whole mounts of the porcine upper urinary tract were prepared and investigated using conventional and confocal fluorescence microscopy followed by three-dimensional reconstruction. UV-laser microdissection and RT-PCR were applied to confirm the immunohistochemical results. CD117-immunoreactivity labeled bipolar IC and round-shaped mast cells (MC) throughout the adventitia, tunica muscularis and submucosa within the whole porcine urinary tract. While MC were found continuously in all investigated segments, a gradient of bipolar IC was evident. The whole mount preparations gave a detailed cytomorphology of IC within the various layers of the porcine urinary tract. Whole mount preparations revealed closed apposition of bi- and tripolar c-Kit positive IC parallel to the smooth muscle bundles and to veins of the tunica muscularis and adventitia. In the urothelium single CD117-positive interepithelial cells were found. The highest density of CD117-positive cells was found at the ureteropelvic junction, however the differences in between the segments were minimal. Microdissection and RT-PCR confirmed the results uncovered by immunohistochemistry. The ubiquitous distribution of IC and their close relationship to smooth muscle provides strong evidence that IC could contribute to the intrinsic pacemaker activity within the porcine (upper and lower) urinary tract. The role of the interepithelial CD117-positive cells as mechanosensors or as a precursor cell in the regeneration of the urothelium, is conceivable.Pediatric Surgery International 02/2008; 24(1):67-76. · 1.22 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: We have examined structures that may operate by using nitric oxide (NO)/soluble guanylyl cyclase (sGC) signalling in the lamina propria of the guinea pig bladder. Cells on the luminal surface of the urothelium and sub-urothelial interstitial cells (SU-ICs) responded to NO with a rise in cGMP. The distribution of these different cells varied between the base, lateral wall and dome. In the base, two regions were identified: areas with sparse surface urothelial cells and areas with a complete covering. A layer of cGMP-positive (cGMP(+)) cells (up to 10 cells deep) was found in the base. cGMP(+)/SU-ICs were also observed in the lateral wall. However, here, the cGMP(+) cells were confined to a layer of only 1-2 cells immediately below the basal urothelial layer (basal cGMP(+)/SU-ICs). Below these cGMP(+)/SU-ICs lay cells that had a similar structure but that showed little cGMP accumulation (deep cGMP(-)/SU-ICs). Both basal and deep SU-ICs expressed the beta1 subunit of sGC and the cGMP-dependent protein kinase I (cGKI), suggesting that the deep SU-ICs can sense NO and signal via cGMP. By using BAY 41-2272, a sensor of endogenous NO production, NO-dependent cGMP synthesis was observed primarily in the basal SU-ICs. A third population of cGKI(+)/cGMP(-) cells was seen to lie immediately below the basal urothelial layer. These cells ("necklace" cells) were less numerous than SU-ICs and extended linking processes suggesting a network. The specific functions of these structures are not known but they may contribute to the emerging multiple roles of the urothelium associated with the generation of bladder sensation.Cell and Tissue Research 09/2006; 325(2):325-32. · 3.68 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Interstitial cells (ICs) play a role in regulating normal bladder activity. This study explores the possibility that the sub-urothelial and muscle networks of NO/cGMP-responsive ICs are altered in animals with surgically induced outflow obstruction. In sham-operated animals, the urothelium comprised NO-stimulated cGMP-positive (cGMP(+)) umbrella cells, an intermediate layer and a basal layer that stained for nNOS. cGMP(+) sub-urothelial interstitial cells (su-ICs) were found below the urothelium. cGMP(+) cells were also associated with the outer muscle layers: on the serosal surface, on the surface of the muscle bundles and within the muscle bundles. Several differences were noted in tissues from obstructed animals: (1) the number of cGMP(+) umbrella cells and intensity of staining was reduced; (2) the intermediate layer of the urothelium consisted of multiple cell layers; (3) the su-IC layer was increased, with cells dispersed being throughout the lamina propria; (4) cGMP(+) cells were found within the inner muscle layer forming nodes between the muscle bundles; (5) the number of cells forming the muscle coat (serosa) was increased; (6) an extensive network of cGMP(+) cells penetrated the muscle bundles; (7) cGMP(+) cells surrounded the muscle bundles and nodes of ICs were apparent, these nodes being associated with nerve fibres; (8) nerves were found in the lamina propria but rarely associated with the urothelium. Thus, changes occur in the networks of ICs following bladder outflow obstruction. These changes must have functional consequences, some of which are discussed.Cell and Tissue Research 11/2007; 330(1):147-60. · 3.68 Impact Factor