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Keywords:

  • human bladder;
  • connexin45;
  • gap junction resistance;
  • bladder instability

Three of this month's Scientific Discovery papers highlight the importance of collaboration in delivering high quality scientific research. As scientific technology increases in power and cost, and specific areas of interest become more specialized, it is becoming more difficult to cover all aspects of a completeresearch story. Collaborating with other experts in the field or other fields, including industry, allows strong scientific proof to be generated for the hypothesis and aims. Building strong collaborative,inter-disciplinary, multi-institutional, international groups with academic and industrial partners is the way forward for all discovery. We look forward to publishing more of these collaborative papersin future issues of the BJU International.

OBJECTIVES

To test the hypothesis that intercellular electrical coupling is altered in human detrusor smooth muscle from patients with unstable bladders.

MATERIALS AND METHODS

Human detrusor biopsy samples were obtained from patients with stable and unstable bladders. Intracellular electrical impedance was measured with alternating current (20 Hz−300 kHz) across the ends of detrusor strips in an oil-gap, after correcting for extracellular space resistance. Gap junctions were identified by localization of connexins (Cx), specifically Cx45, Cx43 and Cx40 transcripts, using immunoconfocal microscopy.

RESULTS

Total intracellular resistivity was greater in strips from unstable than from stable bladders (median 1246 vs 817 Ω.cm). The increase was attributed to an increase in junctional resistance; cytoplasmic resistance was unchanged. Cx43 was localized to a submucosal layer and to connective tissue; Cx40 label was confined to endothelial cells of blood vessels. Cx45 labelling was localized to detrusor bundles and appeared to be less marked in samples from unstable bladders. Semi-quantitative analysis of Northern blots showed that Cx45 expression in unstable was less than that in stable bladders.

CONCLUSIONS

These data suggest that intercellular coupling is reduced in detrusor from unstable bladders. Cx45 was localized to the detrusor layer, with Cx 43 more evident in the suburothelial mucosa. Cx45 labelling was less intense in detrusor samples from unstable bladders. These results are consistent with reduced gap junction coupling in detrusor from unstable bladders.