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Am J Physiol Cell Physiol. 2018 Jun 1;314(6):C643-C653. doi: 10.1152/ajpcell.00339.2017. Epub 2018 Feb 21.

Lipopolysaccharide stimulates BK channel activity in bladder umbrella cells.

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Department of Urology, Yale University School of Medicine , New Haven, Connecticut.
Department of Urology, Qilu Hospital, Shandong University , Jinan , China.


Bladder urothelium plays an active role in response to bacterial infection. There is little known about the electrophysiological activity in urothelial cells in this process. We used a nonenzymatic method to isolate bladder urothelial tissue and to patch clamp umbrella cells in situ. A 200 pS conductance potassium (K+) channel was detected from female C57BL6 mice. Of 58 total patches, 17.2% patches displayed the 200 pS K+ conductance channel. This K+ conductance channel showed Ca2+ sensitivity and voltage dependence. Specific big-conductance potassium channel (BK) inhibitors (paxilline, iberiotoxin) blocked the 200 pS K+ conductance channel activity. RT-PCR and immunoblot confirmed BK channel pore-forming α-subunit (BK-α) mRNA and protein in urothelium. Immunohistochemistry also showed the BK-α located in urothelium. The above data provided evidence that the 200 pS K+ conductance channel was a BK channel. Lipopolysaccharide (LPS), a component of uropathogenic Escherichia coli, was used to investigate the role of BK channel in the pathogenesis of urinary tract infection. BK channel activity as NPo increased threefold within 30 min of exposure to LPS. mRNAs for LPS receptors (TLR4, CD14, MD-2) were expressed in the urothelium but not in lamina propria or detrusor. Blockade of the receptors by an antagonist (polymyxin B) abrogated LPS's effect on BK channel. The involvement of protein kinase A (PKA) on BK channel activity was demonstrated by applying PKA blockers (H89 and PKI). Both PKA inhibitors abolished the BK channel activity induced by LPS. In conclusion, BK channel was identified in bladder umbrella cells, and its activity was significantly increased by LPS.


BK channel; lipopolysaccharide; potassium channel; umbrella cells; urothelium

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