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The American Journal of Physiology - Cell Physiology

Year: 2009  |  Volume: 297  |  Issue: 6  |  Page No.: 1445 - 1451

Augmented bladder urothelial polyamine signaling and block of BK channel in the pathophysiology of overactive bladder syndrome

M Li, Y Sun, J. M Simard, J. Y Wang and T. C. Chai


Overactive bladder syndrome (OAB) is an idiopathic condition characterized by urinary urgency and urge incontinence. Detrusor overactivity has been traditionally described as the physiologic mechanism for OAB. However, the bladder urothelium (BU) may also be involved in the pathophysiology. This study measured polyamine signaling and its downstream effects on membrane conductivity in bladder urothelial cells (BUC) obtained from asymptomatic and OAB subjects. Immunohistofluorescence was used to measure ornithine decarboxylase (ODC) expression in BU. BUC, cultured from BU biopsies, were used for electrophysiologic studies. dl--Difluoromethylornithine (DFMO), spermine, or spermidine was used to modulate polyamine signaling in BUC. Results showed ODC overexpression in OAB BU. In OAB BUC, whole cell and cell-attached configuration showed significantly decreased currents. Using inside-out patches, outward currents increased significantly, suggesting a cytoplasmic source of the outward current block in OAB BUC. In control BUC, outward currents were mediated by the large-conductance calcium-activated potassium (BK) channel due to calcium dose-dependence and block by iberiotoxin. Spermidine and spermine blocked the outward current in normal BUC in dose-dependent fashion. Conversely, DFMO significantly increased (P < 0.01) outward currents in OAB BUC both in cell-attached and in whole cell configuration. The outward currents in DFMO-treated-OAB BUC could be significantly reduced (P < 0.05) by adding back spermidine and spermine. These data suggest that polyamine signaling is upregulated in OAB urothelium and OAB BUC. Furthermore, polyamines in BUC block the BK channel. Targeting of bladder urothelial polyamine signaling may represent a novel approach for OAB treatment based on pathophysiologic mechanisms.

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