ABSTRACT The urinary bladder is innervated and functionally regulated by the autonomic nervous system. In order to elucidate the mechanism of functional changes in aged rat urinary bladder, we studied the influence of senescence on, 1) the α-adrenergic contractile response to phenylephrine in the urinary bladder body and trigone, 2) the muscarinic contractile response to carbachol in the body and trigone. The binding characteristics of [3H]quinuclidinyl benzilate (QNB) to muscarinic cholinoceptors were compared in young and aged bladder. Bladders from young (2 - 3 month-old) and aged (27 month-old) male Fischer 344 rats were isolated, cut into strips and mounted in the organ bath, then the developed tension was recorded. Histologically, the aged bladder did not show pathologic changes such as inflammation and hypertrophy. Carbachol-induced contraction in aged rat bladder was identical to that obtained in young rat. In the receptor binding assay, [3H]QNB maximal binding capacity and Kd value were not significantly changed in aged bladder. In contrast, a selective α-adrenergic agonist phenylephrine, elicited greater contractions both in the aged body and trigone than those in young rats. The augmentation of α-adrenoceptor-mediated contractions in aged bladder may induce urinary dysfunction such as voiding difficulty.
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