Pelvic ganglion (PG) neurons relay sympathetic and parasympathetic signals to the lower urinary tract, comprising the urinary bladder and bladder outlet, and are thus essential for both storage and voiding reflexes. Autonomic transmission is mediated by activation of the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (nAChR) in PG neurons. Previously, bladder outlet obstruction (BOO), secondary to benign prostatic hyperplasia, was found to increase soma sizes of bladder-projecting PG neurons. To date, however, it remains unknown whether these morphological changes are accompanied by functional plasticity in PG neurons. In the present study, we investigated whether BOO alters acetylcholine receptor (nAChR) transcript expression and current density in bladder PG neurons. Partial ligation of the rat urethra for six weeks induced detrusor overactivity (DO), as observed during cystometrical measurement. In rats exhibiting DO, membrane capacitance of parasympathetic bladder PG neurons was selectively increased. Real-time PCR analysis revealed that BOO enhanced the expression of the transcripts encoding the nAChR α3 and β4 subunits in PG neurons. Notably, BOO significantly increased ACh-evoked current density in parasympathetic bladder PG neurons, whereas no changes were observed in sympathetic bladder and parasympathetic penile PG neurons. In addition, other ligand-gated ionic currents were immune to BOO in bladder PG neurons. Taken together, these data suggest that BOO causes upregulation of nAChR in parasympathetic bladder PG neurons, which in turn may potentiate ganglionic transmission and contribute to the development of DO.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology
- Clinical Neurology
- Developmental Biology