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J Urol. 2005 Apr;173(4):1385-90.

Morphology and localization of interstitial cells in the guinea pig bladder: structural relationships with smooth muscle and neurons.

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  • 1Centre for Biophotonics, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom.



In the current study we examined the location of interstitial cell of Cajal (ICC)-like cells in the guinea pig bladder wall and studied their structural interactions with nerves and smooth muscle cells.


Whole mount samples and cryosections of bladder tissue were labeled with primary and fluorescent secondary antibodies, and imaged using confocal and multiphoton microscopy.


Kit positive ICC-like cells were located below the urothelium, in the lamina propria region and throughout the detrusor. In the suburothelium they had a stellate morphology and appeared to network. They made connections with nerves, as shown by double labeling experiments with anti-kit and anti-protein gene product 9.5. A network of vimentin positive cells was also found, of which many but not all were kit positive. In the detrusor kit positive cells were most often seen at the edge of smooth muscle bundles. They were elongated with lateral branches, running in parallel with the bundles and closely associated with intramural nerves. Another population of kit positive cells was seen in the detrusor between muscle bundles. These cells had a more stellate-like morphology and made connections with each other. Kit positive cells were seen tracking nerve bundles and close to intramural ganglia. Vimentin positive cells were present in the detrusor, of which some were also kit positive.


There are several populations of ICC-like cells throughout the guinea pig bladder wall. They differ in morphology and orientation but all make connections with intramural nerves and in the detrusor they are closely associated with smooth muscle cells.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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