, Volume 32, Issue 4, pp 291-304
Date: 11 Dec 2007

Immunohistochemical study of the pre- and postnatal innervation of the dog lower urinary tract: morphological aspects at the basis of the consolidation of the micturition reflex

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Immunohistochemical studies were performed on male and female bladder and urethra collected from 4 adults dogs and 10 foetal specimens with crown-rump length from 53 to 155 mm (medium-sized breeds, presumptive 38 days of gestation to term). A panel of antisera was tested, including PGP 9.5 to describe the general intramural innervation, ChAT and TH to depict the cholinergic and nor-adrenergic components and NOS1, CGRP, SP, NPY, VIP, SOM, GAL, 5-HT to investigate the possible nitrergic, peptidergic and aminergic ones. A rich cholinergic innervation was present in adult bladder and urethra, along with a lesser number of adrenergic nerves and a small number of nitrergic ones. Either bladder or urethra received numerous CGRP-, SP-, NPY-, VIP-containing nerve fibres which were distributed throughout the muscle layers. All over the lower urinary tract strong to weak ChAT-, CGRP-, SP- and NPY-immunoreactivity was detected in intramural ganglia, in peripheral nerve bundles and around blood vessels. 5-HT-immunoreactive endocrine cells were present in the urethral epithelium. Early foetal organs were supplied only by cholinergic nerve fibres. Few NOS-, CGRP- and SP-ergic components appeared at the end of pregnancy. It can be guessed that sensory mediators such as CGRP and SP increase in postnatal ages while other neuropeptides, such as NPY and VIP, appear only after birth, as the urinary reflex consolidates.