TGF-β1 and connexin-43 expression in neurogenic bladder from rats with sacral spinal cord injury.

Sacral spinal cord injury (SCI) could induce underactive bladder (UAB). Malfunction of connexin 43 (CX43) regulated by TGF-β1 might involve in urinary bladder dysfunction. We studied the changes of CX43 and TGF-β1/Smad3 signaling in detrusor of neurogenic bladder (NB) in sacral SCI rats.

Sacral SCI was produced by hemisection (SSCH) or transection (SSCT) of spinal cord between L4 and L5 in female Wistar rats. BBB scores, residual urine volume and bladder weight as well as characteristic cystometric parameters at 6th week were used to confirm the successful establishment of NB. Western blotting and qRT-PCR were used to exam the protein and mRNA expression levels of CX43, CX45, TGF-β1, and Smad3 in detrusor.

BBB scores were significantly decreased, with the lowest in SSCT rats (P < 0.01). The residual urine volume, mean bladder weight, and cystometric parameters were increased, with the highest in SSCT rats. CX43 and phospho-CX43 protein levels were significantly decreased, but those of TGF-β1, Smad3, and phospho-Smad3 were significantly increased. It was the protein and mRNA levels of CX43 but not those of CX45 which were decreased in negative accordance with those of TGF-β1 and Smad3. Those changes were more significant in SSCT than in SSCH rats.

This study indicates that voiding dysfunction is related to the decreased CX43 function in detrusor from NB. TGF-β1/Smad3 signaling might be involved in the down-regulation of CX43 in SCI rats. Early regulation of CX43 might be beneficial to patients with voiding dysfunction.

Neurourology and urodynamics. 2018 Aug 02 [Epub]

Jimao Zhao, Menghua Wu, Siyang Chen, Zhengguo Ji, Xin Zheng

Department of Urology, Beijing Friendship Hospital, Capital Medical University, Beijing, China., Department of Urology, Beijing Youan Hospital, Capital Medical University, Beijing, China.