Journal of Urology vol:171 issue:6 Pt 1 pages:2492-6
PURPOSE: Analogous to interstitial cells of Cajal in the bowel, functional important networks of interstitial cells could have a role in the complex mechanism of central and peripheral control of urinary tract function. Recently various reports mentioned the presence of interstitial cells in different parts of the urinary tract and in different species. Since important differences among species exist, we performed immunohistochemistry on fresh frozen human tissue to study the presence of interstitial cells in the human urinary tract. MATERIALS AND METHODS: A total of 65 tissue pieces from all levels of the urinary tract were obtained from 44 patients treated at our institution. Tissue was processed for immunohistochemistry immediately after removal. We performed immunohistochemistry for kit, connexin 43 and VRL1/TRPV2. RESULTS: Interstitial cells immunopositive for all 3 antibodies were seen beneath the urothelium and between smooth muscle cells in all tissue pieces with slight topographical differences. CONCLUSIONS: Together with morphological and functional data from other experiments these morphological data suggest that, as in the bowel, networks of interstitial cells might have an important role in the physiology and pathology of the urinary tract. They could be involved in pacemaking or have an integrating role through the modulation of neurotransmission and conduction of electrical impulses. Functional experiments are the next step to study these hypotheses.