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Am J Physiol Renal Physiol. 2004 Nov;287(5):F1084-91. Epub 2004 Jul 13.

Alterations in P2X and P2Y purinergic receptor expression in urinary bladder from normal cats and cats with interstitial cystitis.

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Dept. of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, A 1207 Scaife Hall, Pittsburgh, PA 15261, USA.


Purinergic mechanisms appear to be involved in motor as well as sensory functions in the urinary bladder. ATP released from efferent nerves excites bladder smooth muscle, whereas ATP released from urothelial cells can activate afferent nerves and urothelial cells. In the present study, we used immunohistochemical techniques to examine the distribution of purinoceptors in the urothelium, smooth muscle, and nerves of the normal cat urinary bladder as well as possible changes in the expression of these receptors in cats with a chronic painful bladder condition termed feline interstitial cystitis (FIC) in which ATP release from the urothelium is increased. In normal cats, a range of P2X (P2X(1), P2X(2), P2X(3), P2X(4), P2X(5), P2X(6), and P2X(7)) and P2Y (P2Y(1), P2Y(2), and P2Y(4)) receptor subtypes was expressed throughout the bladder urothelium. In FIC cats, there is a marked reduction in P2X(1) and loss of P2Y(2) receptor staining. Both P2X(3) and P2Y(4) are present in nerves in normal cat bladder, and no obvious differences in staining were detected in FIC. Smooth muscle in the normal bladder did not exhibit P2Y receptor staining but did exhibit P2X (P2X(2), P2X(1)) staining. In the FIC bladder smooth muscle, there was a significant reduction in P2X(1) expression. These findings raise the possibility that purinergic mechanisms in the urothelium and bladder smooth muscle are altered in FIC cats. Because the urothelial cells appear to have a sensory function in the bladder, it is possible that the plasticity in urothelial purinergic receptors is linked with the painful bladder symptoms in IC.

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