Cell and Tissue Research

, Volume 314, Issue 3, pp 351–359 | Cite as

Loss of purinergic P2X receptor innervation in human detrusor and subepithelium from adults with sensory urgency

  • Fiona R. Ray
  • Kate H. Moore
  • Mitchell A. Hansen
  • Julian A. Barden
Regular Article


Purinergic P2X receptors associated with the parasympathetic nerves supplying human bladder smooth muscle (detrusor) are implicated in control of detrusor contractility. The relative abundance of all seven subtypes colocalised with synaptic vesicles on parasympathetic nerves was examined in specimens from normal adult bladder and in adults with the urodynamics findings of sensory urgency (SU) to determine how receptor distribution varied in patients with a small bladder capacity. Alteration in control of detrusor innervation was examined with P2X subtype-specific antibodies and an antibody (SV2) against synaptic vesicles, using immunofluorescence and confocal microscopy. Detrusor samples were taken from: controls, at cystectomy for cancer or cystoscopic biopsy for haematuria (n=22, age 33–88 years) and adults with sensory urgency at cystoscopy/cystodistension (n=11, age 37–70 years). Normal adult specimens contained detrusor muscle innervated by parasympathetic nerves possessing large varicosities (1.2 μm) distributed along their length. These mostly all showed colocalised patches of presynaptic P2X1,2,3,5 subtypes while presynaptic subtypes P2X4,6,7 were present in only 6–18% of varicosities. Detrusor nerve varicosities from SU patients revealed general loss of all presynaptic P2X subtypes with the proportion containing receptors reducing to only 0.5–5% depending on P2X subtype. The same loss was recorded from the sensory nerves in the surrounding lamina propria. This specific loss of P2X receptors may impair control of detrusor distension and contribute to the pathophysiology of sensory urgency.


Purinergic P2X receptors Hypertonia Human urinary incontinence sensory urgency Innervation SU bladder Human 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Fiona R. Ray
    • 1
  • Kate H. Moore
    • 2
  • Mitchell A. Hansen
    • 1
  • Julian A. Barden
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.Protein Structure Laboratory, The Institute for Biomedical Research and Department of Anatomy and HistologyThe University of SydneyAustralia
  2. 2.The Detrusor Muscle Laboratory, Department of Urogynaecology, St. George HospitalThe University of New South WalesAustralia
  3. 3.Department of Anatomy and Histology, Anderson Stuart Building, F13The University of SydneyAustralia

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