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Front Biosci. 1997 Dec 1;2:d592-5.

Cellular signaling in the bladder.

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Department of Urology, University of California, San Francisco San Francisco, California 94143-0738, USA.


Embryologically, the urinary bladder is formed from endodermally derived epithelial cells and mesenchymal cells from the urogenital sinus and allantois. Experimentally, we have shown that bladder mesenchyme differentiates into bladder smooth muscle via an unknown signaling mechanism that originates from the urothelium. It is hypothesized that this signaling between the cellular types, occurs via growth factors. Evidence supporting this hypothesis is that a number of known growth factors, such as TGF beta 2 and 3, KGF and TGF alpha, as well as their receptors are regulated as a function of bladder development and are also modulated during experimental bladder outlet obstruction. Furthermore, growth factors most likely affect extracellular matrix degradative proteins which play a role in bladder remodeling during development, as well as in partial outlet obstruction. There is certainly impressive cellular communication that occurs during development and also occurs postnatally; such as during bladder injury. We have recently shown that KGF is directly responsible for the proliferation of urothelium during bladder injury. This normally quiescent cell, which in humans turns over once every six months to a year when injured, has the incredible ability to immediately proliferate covering the exposed areas of bladder muscle and submucosa. This proliferation is due to the direct effects of KGF, a classic paracrine growth factor which is secreted by the stromal compartment of the bladder and acts directly on the urothelium which harbors the receptor. The bladder also has an uncanny ability to regenerate. In a model to study the basic science behind bladder regeneration, a partial cystectomy was performed and an acellular tissue matrix devoid of all cellular elements was sutured to the defect. Within four days, the urothelium completely covered the acellular matrix, and within two weeks native smooth muscle was seen streaming into the acellular matrix in association with a new epithelium. It is hypothesized that cellular interactions between the epithelium and the mesenchyme, as we have shown in bladder differentiation, are encouraging the new growth of smooth muscle. For the bladder to be a safe and effective storage chamber the ideal cellular lining should be urothelium. Cells from the gastrointestinal are not optimal for this purpose since they either secrete or absorb electrolytes. We believe that the cellular interactions that occur between the urothelium and the foreign intestinal stroma will in time change the phenotype of the urothelium. Newer strategies for bladder replacement which take into account cellular signaling are critical for our young patients with neurogenic bladder disorders.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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