• urinary bladder;
  • rat;
  • graft survival;
  • cystometry;
  • electrostimulation;
  • growth factors


To assess the neurophysiologic properties and molecular mechanisms of the bladder acellular matrix graft (BAMG), we performed cystometric and neurophysiologic studies in male Sprague-Dawley rats (n = 46) at varying intervals. The animals were assigned to 3 groups: 1) normal, 2) partial cystectomy (>50%), and 3) partial cystectomy (>50%) and grafting with a BAMG of equal size. Additionally, matrix-grafted and host bladders were processed for analysis of mRNA expression of transforming growth factor (TGF)-α, TGF-β1, TGF-β2, and TGF-β3 by reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction.

Matrix-grafted bladders showed a significantly higher bladder capacity at 3 and 6 weeks and 4 months than those with partial cystectomy alone, and a significantly higher bladder capacity at 4 months than in normal controls (P ≤ 0.01). Residual urine volume was significantly increased at 4 months. Electrostimulation of the pelvic nerve provoked generalized bladder contractions, a response that was reduced by atropine and hexamethonium. Variable induction of TGF-α, TGF-β1, TGF-β2, and TGF-β3 gene transcription was evident in the BAMG, with prominent mRNA expression of TGF-α and TGF-β1 6 months after surgery.

These cystometric results and detrusor responses to stimulation provide further evidence that graft components do not interfere with host components. Matrix-grafted rat bladders generate, although not increased over time, adequate intravesical pressure responses to produce sustained voiding. Gene expression of different growth factors may be significant in understanding their role in the development and differentiation of the BAMG for partial bladder replacement. Neurourol. Urodynam. 17:37–54, 1998. © 1998 Wiley-Liss, Inc.