AIMS: Bladder wall stretch increases tissue tension and releases adenosine 5'-triphosphate (ATP) as part of a transduction process to sense bladder filling. Aging is associated with bladder fibrosis to produce a stiffer bladder wall: this may augment ATP release and contribute to age-dependent urgency. Muscarinic agonists also release ATP and present a potential target for antimuscarinic agents, but its age-dependency is unknown. This study aimed, in young and old mice, to: (a) quantify the relationship between bladder wall stiffness and stretch-dependent ATP release and; (b) characterize muscarinic agonist-dependent release.
METHODS: ATP release from young (9-12 weeks) and aged (24 months) mouse bladder wall was measured in vitro, with a luciferin-luciferase assay, after stretch or carbachol exposure. Bladder wall stiffness, measured simultaneously during stretch, was compared to histological proportions of connective tissue and detrusor muscle.
RESULTS: With young mice, stretch-activated ATP release required an intact mucosa and was positively associated with wall stiffness. ATP release by carbachol was about four-fold greater compared to stretch. With aged mice: ATP release varied a hundred-fold and no association with stiffness; carbachol release diminished; connective tissue and mucosa thickness increased.
CONCLUSIONS: With young mice, stretch, or muscarinic agonists potently induce bladder wall ATP release. Stretch-dependent release is proportional to bladder wall stiffness, independent of the extent of stretch. With aged mice dependence of stretch-activated ATP release with stiffness was lost. The huge variability of release suggests that aged mice do not form a homogenous cohort and may underlie the heterogeneity in bladder filling sensations.
- aged mice
- ATP release
- muscarinic agonists