Purinergic signalling underlies transforming growth factor-β-mediated bladder afferent nerve hyperexcitability.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Key points

The sensory components of the urinary bladder are responsible for the transduction of bladder filling and are often impaired with neurological injury or disease. Elevated extracellular ATP contributes, in part, to bladder afferent nerve hyperexcitability during urinary bladder inflammation or irritation. Transforming growth factor-β1 (TGF-β1) may stimulate ATP release from the urothelium through vesicular exocytosis mechanisms with minimal contribution from pannexin-1 channels to increase bladder afferent nerve discharge. Bladder afferent nerve hyperexcitability and urothelial ATP release with CYP-induced cystitis is decreased with TGF-β inhibition. These results establish a causal link between an inflammatory mediator, TGF-β, and intrinsic signalling mechanisms of the urothelium that may contribute to the altered sensory processing of bladder filling.


The afferent limb of the micturition reflex is often compromised following bladder injury, disease and inflammatory conditions. We have previously demonstrated that transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) signalling contributes to increased voiding frequency and decreased bladder capacity with cystitis. Despite the functional presence of TGF-β in bladder inflammation, the precise mechanisms of TGF-β mediating bladder dysfunction are not yet known. Thus, the present studies investigated the sensory components of the urinary bladder that may underlie the pathophysiology of aberrant TGF-β activation. We utilized bladder-pelvic nerve preparations to characterize bladder afferent nerve discharge and the mechanisms of urothelial ATP release with distention. Our findings indicate that bladder afferent nerve discharge is sensitive to elevated extracellular ATP during pathological conditions of urinary bladder inflammation or irritation. We determined that TGF-β1 may increase bladder afferent nerve excitability by stimulating ATP release from the urothelium via vesicular exocytosis mechanisms with minimal contribution from pannexin-1 channels. Furthermore, blocking aberrant TGF-β signalling in cyclophosphamide-induced cystitis with TβR-1 inhibition decreased afferent nerve hyperexcitability with a concomitant decrease in urothelial ATP release. Taken together, these results establish a role for purinergic signalling mechanisms in TGF-β-mediated bladder afferent nerve activation that may ultimately facilitate increased voiding frequency. The synergy between intrinsic urinary bladder signalling mechanisms and an inflammatory mediator provides novel insight into bladder dysfunction and supports new avenues for therapeutic intervention.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Gonzalez, EJ; Heppner, TJ; Nelson, MT; Vizzard, MA

Published Date

  • July 2016

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 594 / 13

Start / End Page

  • 3575 - 3588

PubMed ID

  • 27006168

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC4929319

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1469-7793

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0022-3751

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1113/jp272148


  • eng