• Open Access

Platelet-derived growth factor receptor-α cells in mouse urinary bladder: a new class of interstitial cells


Sang Don KOH, Department of Physiology and Cell Biology,

University of Nevada School of Medicine, 1664 N. Virginia St MS 0352,

Reno, NV 89557, USA.

Tel.: 775-784-1924

Fax: 775-784-6903.

E-mail: skoh@medicine.nevada.edu


Specific classes of interstitial cells exist in visceral organs and have been implicated in several physiological functions including pacemaking and mediators in neurotransmission. In the bladder, Kit+ interstitial cells have been reported to exist and have been suggested to be neuromodulators. More recently a second interstitial cell, which is identified using antibodies against platelet-derived growth factor receptor-α (PDGFR-α) has been described in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract and has been implicated in enteric motor neurotransmission. In this study, we examined the distribution of PDGFR-α+ cells in the murine urinary bladder and the relation that these cells may have with nerve fibres and smooth muscle cells. Platelet-derived growth factor receptor-α+ cells had a spindle shape or stellate morphology and often possessed multiple processes that contacted one another forming a loose network. These cells were distributed throughout the bladder wall, being present in the lamina propria as well as throughout the muscularis of the detrusor. These cells surrounded and were located between smooth muscle bundles and often came into close morphological association with intramural nerve fibres. These data describe a new class of interstitial cells that express a specific receptor within the bladder wall and provide morphological evidence for a possible neuromodulatory role in bladder function.