Histochemistry and Cell Biology

, Volume 140, Issue 2, pp 189–200 | Cite as

Immunohistochemical characteristics of suburothelial microvasculature in the mouse bladder

  • Retsu MitsuiEmail author
  • Hikaru Hashitani
Original Paper


The morphological characteristics of smooth muscle cells (SMCs) and their innervation of the suburothelial microvasculature of the mouse bladder were investigated by immunohistochemistry. Whole mount bladder mucosal preparations were immune-stained for α-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA) and/or neuronal markers and examined using confocal laser scanning microscopy. Suburothelial arterioles consisted of α-SMA-immunopositive circular smooth muscle cells, while the venular wall composed of α-SMA-positive SMCs that displayed several processes which extended from their cell bodies to form an extensive meshwork. In larger venules, a complex meshwork of stellate-shaped SMCs were observed. NG2 chondroitin sulphate proteoglycan-immunoreactive cell bodies of capillary pericytes were not immunoreactive for α-SMA. In the rat bladder suburothelial venules, circular SMCs were the dominant cell type expressing α-SMA-immunoreactivity. Since α-SMA-positive SMCs in suburothelial arterioles and venules in the mouse bladder had quite distinct morphologies, the innervation of both vessels could be examined by double labelling for α-SMA and various neuronal markers. Varicose nerve bundles immunoreactive for tyrosine hydroxylase (sympathetic nerves), choline acetyltransferase (cholinergic nerves) or substance P (primary afferent nerves) were all detected along side suburothelial arterioles. Single varicose nerve fibres positive for these three neuronal markers were also detected around the venules. Thus, whole mount preparations are useful when examining the morphology of α-SMA-positive SMCs of the microvasculature in the suburothelium of mouse bladder as well as their relationship with their innervations. In conclusion, arterioles and venules of the bladder suburothelium are the target of sympathetic, cholinergic and primary afferent nerve fibres.


Microvasculature Autonomic nervous system Nerve varicosity Contractile protein Urinary bladder 



The authors wish to thank Dr. R.J. Lang for his critical reading of the manuscript. This study was supported by a Medical Research Grant of Nagoya City University Hospital to R.M., Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research (B) from Japan Society for Promotion of the Science (JSPS) to H.H. (No. 22390304) and Grant-in-Aid for challenging Exploratory Research from JSPS to H.H. (No. 21659377).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Cell PhysiologyNagoya City University Graduate School of Medical SciencesNagoyaJapan

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