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Urol Res. 1992;20(1):59-62.

Effect of acute distension on cholinergic innervation of the rat urinary bladder.

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  • 1Department of Surgery, University, Oulu, Finland.


The effect of short-term urinary bladder distension on its cholinergic innervation was studied in Sprague-Dawley rats. Distension was induced for 3 h by forced diuresis and balloon outlet obstruction, and whole thick biopsy specimens were taken from the dome and lateral side of the anterior body 2, 7 and 21 days afterwards. The acetylcholinesterase (AChE) method was used to demonstrate the cholinergic nerves in the distended bladder wall. Cholinergic hypoinnervation was observed 7 days after the distension, persisting up to 21 days, although AChE-reactive nerves were then observed to be more numerous. The distribution of hypoinnervation was uneven, being more marked in the lateral side of the anterior body than in the dome. The distribution of AChE-reactive nerves varied even in the same biopsies, with areas of total hypoinnervation occurring next to areas of slightly diminished innervation. This was especially true 21 days after distension. The findings indicate transient damage to the cholinergic innervation, which may in turn explain the prolonged voiding difficulties often seen after catheterization of an overdistended bladder in a patient with urinary retention. The short-lasting effect of bladder dilatation therapy used to treat detrusor instability or interstitial cystitis may be due to the fairly rapid regeneration of cholinergic innervation.

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