The multiple antibacterial activities of the bladder epithelium.
The urinary tract is subject to frequent challenges from the gut microflora. Indeed, up to 40% of women will experience at least one urinary tract infection (UTI) during their lifetime. Uropathogenic Escherichia coli (UPEC) contribute to an overwhelming majority of these cases and they typically initiate UTIs by invading the superficial epithelium that lines the bladder lumen. In addition to serving as an effective barrier to noxious agents found in urine, bladder epithelial cells (BECs) play a key physiological role in regulating bladder volume to accommodate urine flow. UPEC appear to coopt this latter property to circumvent this normally impregnable epithelial barrier. However, in spite of this shortcoming, recent studies suggest that BECs possess several immune mechanisms to combat bacterial invasion including expulsion of invading bacteria back into the bladder lumen following infection. These antibacterial activities of BECs are triggered and coordinated by sensory molecules located on the epithelial cell membrane and within the cells. Although, they are the primary targets of microbial attack, BECs appear to be equipped with a diverse repertoire of defense schemes to fend off many of these microbial challenges.
Wu, J; Miao, Y; Abraham, SN
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