The interaction between nerves and smooth muscle cells in the bladder is central to the pathogenesis of unstable bladder and urinary incontinence. We seek to combine traditional and recently-developed high-resolution confocal imaging techniques in smooth muscle and intact mature nerve terminals, to determine how efferent nerves to the bladder generate contraction normally and in unstable bladder models. By understanding normal and aberrant neurotransmission, and endogenous regulation, we aim to identify new pharmacological targets for treating urinary incontinence.
Unpublished technical developements have been achieved in either the bladder or other preparations and are included here as additional information.
A Quicktime movie showing pilot studies of rat bladder Ca2+ imaging , (Experiments by Aurora Valeri in Dr Brain's laboratory). Smooth muscle cells were filled with the Ca2+ indicator Oregon Green 488 BAPTA-1 AM. Images were acquired with the laboratory's Leica SP2 confocal microscope. The # mark indicates a single field stimulus which initiates action potentials in autonomic terminals within the bladder wall. The released neurotransmitters ultimately induce waves of Ca2+ in the bladder smooth muscle cells.
Email: Keith Brain