We investigated the distribution of CARTp(55-102)in rat lower urinary tract and evaluated its effect on urinary bladder function in vitro. Immunohistochemistry and a vertical isolated tissue bath system were used. Neurons, clusters of nonneuronal endocrine cells, and nerve fibers stained positive for CARTp(55-102)in young adult rat urinary bladder. The CARTp-expressing neuronal elements were nitric oxide synthase (NOS)- and tyrosine hydroxylase (TH)-IR, whereas all nonneuronal CARTp-IR elements stained positively only for TH (100 %). In isolated bladder strips, CARTp significantly increased the amplitude of electric field stimulation (EFS)-induced detrusor contractions at stimulation frequencies ≤12.5 Hz (p ≤ 0.001) as well as amplitude and frequency of spontaneous phasic urinary bladder smooth muscle (UBSM) contractions (p ≤ 0.05). The responses to CARTp stimulation were dose-dependent and increased in the presence of the urothelium. To determine if the CARTp increase in nerve-mediated contractions may involve an action of CARTp on specific neural pathways, we blocked cholinergic, purinergic, and adrenergic pathways and determined CARTp actions on EFS-medicated contractions. CARTp enhancement of EFS-mediated contractions does not involve alteration in purinergic, adrenergic, or cholinergic pathways. The study demonstrates that CARTp(55-102)is highly expressed in rat urinary bladder. CARTp increased the amplitude of EFS-induced detrusor contractions as well as the amplitude and frequency of spontaneous phasic urinary bladder smooth muscle contractions. We conclude that CARTp may alter the release of compounds from the urothelium that leads to an enhancement of UBSM contractility/excitability.
- Intramural ganglia