The effect of obstruction on the developing bladder

Craig A Peters, S. Vasavada, D. Dator, M. Carr, E. Shapiro, H. Lepor, J. McConnell, A. B. Retik, J. Mandell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

91 Scopus citations


Congenital bladder obstruction causes significant immediate and long-term consequences yet its pathophysiology remains poorly understood. A model of early fetal bladder obstruction in sheep has been developed to study the response of the developing bladder to high grade obstruction, with particular emphasis on the regulation of growth and development. Congenital bladder obstruction was produced in fetal sheep at 60 days of gestation and studied at 95 days of gestation (14 sheep) or term (12 sheep). A total of 24 age- matched normal sheep served as controls. Bladders were analyzed by total weight, stereological estimation of smooth muscle cell size, number and total mass, deoxyribonucleic acid concentration, muscarinic cholinergic receptor density, myosin isoform analysis and/or passive cystometrics. Congenital bladder obstruction caused a 4.6 times increase in bladder weight at term reflecting a 5.8 times increase in smooth muscle mass. This increase was predominantly that of cellular hypertrophy and less so of hyperplasia, based upon increased cell volume, increased protein-to-deoxyribonucleic acid ratio, and no significant increase in total cell number. Muscarinic cholinergic receptor number per smooth muscle cell increased 3.2 times but it did not change relative to myosin content. The ratio of myosin heavy chain isoforms SM1:SM2 is developmentally regulated and was seen to change from 1.6 at 100 days of gestation to 1.13 at term in normals. After 5 weeks of obstruction SM1:SM2 was 1.27 and it was 1.25 at term, indicating an effect on the developmental regulation of smooth muscle. Rapid fill cystometry in vivo measured the rate of stress relaxation to assess accommodative properties. The half-decay time was increased in all 3 obstructed bladders tested to greater than 15 seconds at 50% capacity (normal less than 5 seconds), suggesting reduced compliance. This study shows that an in utero model of bladder obstruction is feasible. Congenital bladder obstruction produces a variety of structural, biochemical and functional changes in the developing bladder indicative of alterations in the regulation of growth and differentiation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)491-496
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Urology
Issue number2 II
StatePublished - 1992


  • animals, laboratory
  • bladder
  • fetal development

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Urology


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