Innervation and connexin isoform expression during diabetes-related bladder dysfunction: Early structural vs. neuronal remodelling

D. P. Poladia, B. Schanbacher, L. J. Wallace, J. A. Bauer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Urinary bladder dysfunction is a major complication in diabetes mellitus and its mechanism has been attributed to altered neurological function (autonomic and/or peripheral neuropathy). Previous studies have demonstrated impaired nerve deficiencies, including either loss of nerve function and/or anatomical loss of neuromuscular nerve terminals. While the phenomenon of diabetes-related neurological injury is well recognised, its pathogenesis is not well understood. Using a well established rat model of diabetes (streptozotocin model), we investigated the prevalence of sympathetic and parasympathetic nerves and relative prevalence of connexin isoforms (gap junction proteins) during diabetes-related bladder dysfunction. Immunohistochemistry and digital image analysis was used to detect the prevalence of postsynaptic neuronal markers, NOS1 and connexin isoform expressions. Immunohistochemistry showed significant increases in tyrosine hydroxylase (marker of sympathetic innervation) and decreased vesicular acetylcholine transporter (marker of parasympathetic innervation), predominantly in the smooth muscle layer, 3 days after diabetes induction, when compared to age-matched controls. Time-dependent and cell-specific decreases in the connexin 43 isoform, but transient increases in connexin 32 and 26, were also observed in diabetic rats vs. controls (p<0.05). These data suggest that selective and time-dependent expression of gap junction proteins and altered prevalence of sympathetic/parasympathetic innervation are early events during diabetes-related bladder dysfunction and remodelling.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)147-152
Number of pages6
JournalActa Diabetologica
Issue number3
StatePublished - Oct 2005


  • Diabetes
  • NOS1
  • Neuronal remodelling
  • Tyrosine hydroxylase
  • Urinary bladder dysfunction
  • Vesicular acetylcholine transporter protein

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology


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