The objective of our work was to investigate both the contractile function and the release of ATP and NO from strips of bladder tissue after removal of the urothelium.
The method of removal was a gentle swabbing motion rather than a sharp surgical cutting to separate the urothelium from the smooth muscle. The contractile response and ATP and NO release were measured in intact as well as on swabbed preparations. The removal of the urothelial layer was affirmed microscopically.
After the swabbing, the smaller contractions were evoked by electrical as well as by chemical stimulation (50 μM carbachol or 50 μM α, β meATP). Electrical stimulation, carbachol and substance P (5 μM) evoked lower release of ATP in the swabbed strips than in intact strips. Although release of NO evoked by electrical stimulation or substance P was not changed, release of NO evoked by carbachol was significantly less in the swabbed preparations.
Since swabbing removes only the urothelium, the presence of the suburothelial layer may explain the difference between our findings and those of others who found an increase in contractility. Evoked release of ATP is reduced in swabbed strips, indicating that ATP derives solely from the urothelium. On the other hand, electrical stimulation and substance P evoke identical degrees of NO release in both intact and swabbed preparations, suggesting that NO can be released from the suburothelium. Conversely, carbachol-induced release of NO is lower in swabbed strips, implying that the cholinergic receptors (muscarinic or nicotinic) are located in the upper layer of the urothelium.