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Focal changes in nerve, muscle and connective tissue in normal and unstable human bladder

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Pauline Chambers, Professor James Gillespie


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Objective. To compare and quantify, in a morphological study, the changes that occur in the connective tissue elements (elastin and collagen), muscle fibre diameters and nerve densities between normal, idiopathic and neuropathic bladders. Materials and methods. Bladder tissue was obtained from 27 patients undergoing cystectomy for carcinoma, from 12 with idiopathic instability and from seven neuropathic patients who were undergoing ileocystoplasty. A combination of histochemical and immunohistochemical techniques were used to detect detrusor muscle, connective tissue and nerve profiles in the bladder tissue. Results. In both idiopathic and neuropathic bladder tissue the structural changes were highly punctate. From the density of nerve profiles, three areas were defined: (i) apparently unaffected normal fascicles with a high density of nerves, no hypertrophy of the muscle and no infiltration of elastin and collagen. The nerve density in these areas was similar to that in normal bladder tissue. (ii) Fascicles with a low density of nerve profiles, muscle hypertrophy but no connective tissue infiltration. (iii) Areas with few nerve profiles, muscle hypertrophy and extensive elastin and collagen infiltration within the fascicles. The mean (SEM) density of nerve profiles in control tissue was 752 (53) nerves/mm2 and in the idiopathic bladders was 905 (91), 81 (20) and 74 (38) nerves/mm2 in the three defined areas, respectively. In the neuropathic tissues the nerve profile densities were 672 (249), 57 (23) and 37 (28) nerves/mm2, respectively. Fibre diameter, elastin and collagen content and nerve density were measured in normal and unstable bladder tissue using these three defined areas. The mean (SEM) fibre diameter was 6.81 (0.52) in normal bladder: in idiopathic bladder tissue the fibre diameters in the three areas were 6.72 (0.62), 7.06 (0.62) and 7.34 (1.15) μm, respectively, and in neuropathic bladders were 6.75 (0.62), 8.24 (0.62) and 9.35 (0.62) μm, respectively. The relative areas of elastin were 0.79 (0.70), 0.56 (0.45) and 18.3 (4.1)% for the control, normal and affected areas of the neuropathic bladders, respectively, and the relative areas of collagen were 3.5 (1.3), 6.15 (3.6) and 15.7 (5.0)%, respectively. The pattern was similar in idiopathic bladders. Conclusion These observations suggest that the primary defect in the idiopathic and neuropathic bladders is a loss of nerves accompanied by a hypertrophy of the cells. These changes may continue with further hypertrophy of the cells and an increased production of elastin and collagen within the muscle fascicles.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Charlton RG, Morley AR, Chambers P, Gillespie JI

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: BJU International

Year: 1999

Volume: 84

Issue: 9

Pages: 953-960

Print publication date: 01/12/1999

ISSN (print): 1464-4096

ISSN (electronic): 1464-410X

Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Ltd.


DOI: 10.1046/j.1464-410X.1999.00360.x

PubMed id: 10571619


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