PURPOSE - We previously showed that mesenchymal-epithelial interactions are necessary for the development of bladder smooth muscle. Specifically without bladder epithelium embryonic bladder mesenchyme does not differentiate into smooth muscle. We determine whether this process is specific to bladder epithelium or whether epithelial cells from other organ systems induce bladder mesenchyme to differentiate into smooth muscle, as well as whether epithelial age is an important variable.
MATERIALS AND METHODS - We recombined 14-day bladder mesenchyme before smooth muscle differentiation with rat epithelium from 14-day, 19-day, newborn and adult bladder, ureter, colon, ileum, stomach, cornea and epidermis. In addition, bladder epithelium was recombined with 14-day embryonic small intestinal, 14-day embryonic gastric and newborn seminal vesicle mesenchyme. All tissue recombinants were grafted under the renal capsule of an adult rat syngeneic host for 3 weeks.
RESULTS - Immunohistochemical analysis with antibodies directed against smooth muscle alpha-actin revealed that all epithelial types studied induced bladder mesenchyme to differentiate into smooth muscle, although to different degrees. Induction of smooth muscle was independent of urothelial age. In addition, bladder epithelium induced intestinal, gastric and seminal vesicle mesenchyme to differentiate into smooth muscle and express an overall morphological pattern indicative of the bladder fibromuscular wall.
CONCLUSIONS - The mechanism whereby urothelium induces bladder mesenchyme to differentiate into smooth muscle is not specific to embryonic urothelium. Older urothelium and heterotypic epithelium also induce smooth muscle differentiation. With the common use of bowel, stomach and ureteral segments for bladder augmentation it is important to understand the interaction of different types of epithelium with the native bladder.