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Biol Cell. 2000 Apr;92(2):105-13.

The response of junctional complexes to induced desquamation in mouse bladder urothelium.

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Institute of Cell Biology, Medical Faculty, Ljubljana, Slovenia.


During desquamation, the cells of mouse urinary bladder epithelium undergo detachment. In this process we examined the disconnection of cell adhesion molecules. Two proteins of cell junctions were studied: ZO1 of tight junctions and desmoplakin of desmosomes. Desquamation was induced by intravesical injection of LPS, constant illumination of mouse for 96 h, application of a combination of stress hormones hydrocortisone and norepinephrine or by removal of calcium with EGTA. All the inducers caused penetration of lanthanum tracer through the tight junctions, indicating paracellular permeability. Dilatation of extracellular spaces between neighboring cells was seen whenever desquamation was induced in bladders containing urine. Desquamation of single cells as well as groups of cells was observed. Contrary to obvious disconnection of cell junctions, as a precondition for desquamation, the distribution of junctional proteins did not change either in urothelial tissue or in desquamated cells. This study demonstrates that all the inducers of desquamation cause first an extensive dysfunction of a blood urine barrier and after that an occasional mechanical disconnection of adhesive junctions which consequently leads to desquamation.

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