Identification of c-kit-positive cells in the mouse ureter: the interstitial cells of Cajal of the urinary tract.


Journal Article

The existence of a pacemaker system in the urinary tract capable of orchestrating the movement of filtrated urine from the ureteral pelvis to the distal ureter and lower urinary tract seems intuitive. The coordinated activity necessary for such movement or "peristalsis" would likely require an intricate network of cells with pacemaker-like activity, as is the case with the interstitial cells of Cajal (ICC) of the gut. We investigated whether these putative pacemaker cells of the urinary tract are antigenically similar to ICC of the gut by using immunofluorescence staining for c-kit, a cell-surface marker specific for ICC. Ureteral, urinary bladder, and urethral tissues were harvested from female mice of the WBB6F1 strain, and fixed sections were prepared and stained for c-kit. Cell networks composed of stellate-appearing, c-kit-positive, ICC-like cells were found in the lamina propria and at the interface of the inner longitudinal and outer circular muscle layers of the ureteral pelvis but not in the urinary bladder or urethra. Thus, like in the gut, c-kit-positive, ICC-like cells are present in the urinary tract but appear to be restricted to the proximal ureter of this murine species.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Pezzone, MA; Watkins, SC; Alber, SM; King, WE; de Groat, WC; Chancellor, MB; Fraser, MO

Published Date

  • May 2003

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 284 / 5

Start / End Page

  • F925 - F929

PubMed ID

  • 12540363

Pubmed Central ID

  • 12540363

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1931-857X

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1152/ajprenal.00138.2002


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States