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J Urol. 1999 May;161(5):1626-35.

Atherosclerosis-induced chronic ischemia causes bladder fibrosis and non-compliance in the rabbit.

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  • 1Department of Urology, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston VA Medical Center, Massachusetts 02130, USA.



The overall goal was to determine whether chronic ischemia and hypercholesterolemia interfere with bladder function and structure. The roles of atherosclerosis-induced chronic ischemia and hypercholesterolemia in bladder fibrosis and non-compliance were studied in the rabbit. The relationship between ischemia-induced changes in the expression of transforming growth factor-beta1 (TGF-beta1) and basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF) and the severity of bladder fibrosis was also investigated.


Male New Zealand White rabbits were divided into chronic bladder ischemia (CBI, n = 11), hypercholesterolemia (Hch, n = 8) and control (n = 8) groups. The CBI group underwent balloon endothelial injury of the iliac arteries and received a 0.5% cholesterol diet. The Hch group received a 0.5% cholesterol diet alone. The control group was placed on a regular diet. After 16 weeks, iliac artery and bladder wall blood flow measurements, cystometrograms (CMG) and aorto-iliac arteriograms were obtained in all animals. Iliac arteries and bladder tissues were processed for histological staining and computer-assisted histomorphometric image analysis. The expressions of TGF-beta1 and bFGF in bladder tissue were determined by immunohistochemical staining utilizing monoclonal antibodies.


At 16 weeks, arteriography and histology showed significant diffuse atherosclerotic occlusive disease of the aorto-iliac arteries in the CBI group. Iliac artery and bladder wall blood flows were significantly decreased in the CBI group compared with the Hch and control groups. Atherosclerosis-induced CBI shifted the volume-pressure curve to the left and caused severe bladder fibrosis. Hypercholesterolemia also caused fibrosis and non-compliance but to a much lesser extent compared with those caused by CBI. In histomorphometry, the percentage of detrusor smooth muscle was moderately decreased in the Hch group and severely decreased in the CBI group compared with the control group. In immunohistochemical stains of bladder tissues, bFGF expression was similar in the three groups of animals. TGF-beta1 expression was significantly greater in bladder tissues from the CBI group compared with the Hch and control groups.


Our studies show that atherosclerosis-induced chronic ischemia increases TGF-beta1 expression in the bladder leading to fibrosis, smooth muscle atrophy and non-compliance. Hypercholesterolemia also interferes with bladder structure and compliance but to a significantly lesser extent compared with CBI. Our studies suggest that arterial insufficiency and hypercholesterolemia, common aging-associated disorders, may play important roles in the pathophysiology of voiding dysfunction in the elderly.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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