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Autonomous activity in the isolated guinea pig bladder

Lookup NU author(s): Marcus Drake, Ian Harvey, Professor James Gillespie


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Phasic changes in pressure have been reported to occur in the bladder which are not associated with micturition. Spontaneous intravesical pressure changes can be recorded from bladders in vitro or bladders in vivo isolated from the central nervous system suggesting that the bladder itself is capable of autonomous activity. Experiments using isolated cells and muscle strips indicate that the smooth muscle can generate spontaneous activity. Whether this is the origin of phasic changes in the intact organ remains unknown. The present study set out to establish the presence and characteristics of autonomous activity in the isolated guinea pig bladder. Multiple-point motion analysis and concurrent intravesical pressure recording were used to identify and quantify spontaneous and evoked activity. Highly complex autonomous activity was observed in unstimulated bladders. This activity comprised localised micro-contractions in single or multiple discrete regions, waves of activity and micro-stretches. Low-amplitude phasic 'micro-transients' were seen in the intravesical pressure trace in association with micro-contractions. Incremental increases in the intravesical volume recruited additional areas of activity. Atropine and tetrodotoxin had no effect on the micro-transients or micro-contractions. Exposure to the muscarinic agonist arecaidine (10-300 nM) initially increased the incidence of micro-contractions which subsequently became co-ordinated into phasic pressure rises and contraction waves, interspersed with periods of total quiescence. The findings describe the generation and coordination of autonomous activity in the bladder wall and also demonstrate complex phasic activity. This approach has shown the importance of assessing the integrative properties of the entire organ in studies of the physiology and patho-physiology of the bladder.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Drake MJ, Harvey IJ, Gillespie JI

Publication type: Review

Publication status: Published

Journal: Experimental Physiology

Year: 2003

Volume: 88

Issue: 1

Pages: 19-30

Print publication date: 01/01/2003

ISSN (print): 0958-0670

ISSN (electronic): 1469-445X


DOI: 10.1113/eph8802473

PubMed id: 12525852