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PLoS By Category | Recent PLoS Articles
Physiology - Surgery - Urology

Characterization of the Early Proliferative Response of the Rodent Bladder to Subtotal Cystectomy: A Unique Model of Mammalian Organ Regeneration
Published: Friday, October 12, 2012
Author: Charles C. Peyton et al.

by Charles C. Peyton, David Burmeister, Bryon Petersen, Karl-Erik Andersson, George Christ

Subtotal cystectomy (STC; surgical removal of ~75% of the rat urinary bladder) elicits a robust proliferative response resulting in complete structural and functional bladder regeneration within 8-weeks. The goal of these studies was to characterize the early cellular response that mediates this regenerative phenomenon, which is unique among mammalian organ systems. STC was performed on eighteen 12-week-old female Fischer F344 rats. At 1, 3, 5 and 7-days post-STC, the bladder was harvested 2-hours after intraperitoneal injection of bromodeoxyuridine (BrdU). Fluorescent BrdU labeling was quantified in cells within the urothelium, lamina propria (LP), muscularis propria (MP) and serosa. Cell location was confirmed with fluorescently co-labeled cytokeratin, vimentin or smooth muscle actin (SMA), to identify urothelial, interstitial and smooth muscle cells, respectively. Expression of sonic hedgehog (Shh), Gli-1 and bone morphogenic factor-4 (BMP-4) were evaluated with immunochemistry. Three non-operated rats injected with BrdU served as controls. Less than 1% of cells in the bladder wall were labeled with BrdU in control bladders, but this percentage significantly increased by 5-8-fold at all time points post-STC. The spatiotemporal characteristics of the proliferative response were defined by a significantly higher percentage of BrdU-labeled cells within the urothelium at 1-day than in the MP and LP. A time-dependent shift at 3 and 5-days post-STC revealed significantly fewer BrdU-labeled cells in the MP than LP or urothelium. By 7-days the percentage of BrdU-labeled cells was similar among urothelium, LP and MP. STC also caused an increase in immunostaining for Shh, Gli-1 and BMP-4. In summary, the early stages of functional bladder regeneration are characterized by time-dependent changes in the location of the proliferating cell population, and expression of several evolutionarily conserved developmental signaling proteins. This report extends previous observations and further establishes the rodent bladder as an excellent model for studying novel aspects of mammalian organ regeneration.
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