Expression of protease-activated receptor-1, -2, -3, and -4 in control and experimentally inflamed mouse bladder

Am J Pathol. 2003 Mar;162(3):907-23. doi: 10.1016/S0002-9440(10)63886-2.


Inflammation underlines all major bladder pathologies and represents a defense reaction to injury involving a mandatory participation of mast cells and sensory nerves. Mast cells are particularly frequent in close proximity to epithelial surfaces where they are strategically located in the bladder and release their mediators in response to inflammation. Tryptase is specifically produced by mast cells and modulates inflammation by activating protease-activated receptors (PARs). We recently found that PAR-4 mRNA is up-regulated in experimental bladder inflammation regardless of the initiating stimulus. Because it has been reported that PAR-1, PAR-2, and PAR-3 may also be involved in the processes of inflammation, we used immunohistochemistry to characterize the expression of all known PARs in normal, acute, and chronic inflamed mouse bladder. We found that all four PARs are present in the control mouse bladder, and follow a unique distribution. All four PARs are co-expressed in the urothelium, whereas PAR-1 and PAR-2 are predominant in the detrusor muscle, and PAR-4 is expressed in peripheral nerves and plexus cell bodies. The strong expression of PARs in the detrusor muscle indicates the need for studies on the role of these receptors in motility whereas the presence of PAR-4 in nerves may indicate its participation in neurogenic inflammation. In addition, PARs are differentially modulated during inflammation. PAR-1 and PAR-2 are down-regulated in acute inflammation whereas PAR-3 and PAR-4 are up-regulated. Bladder fibroblasts were found to present a clear demarcation in PAR expression secondary to acute and chronic inflammation. Our findings provide evidence of participation of PARs in the urinary system, provide a working model for mast cell tryptase signaling in the mouse bladder, and evoke testable hypotheses regarding the roles of PARs in bladder inflammation. It is timely to understand the role of tryptase signaling and PARs in the context of bladder biology.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Dinitrophenols
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Fibroblasts / pathology
  • Gene Expression Regulation / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / chemically induced
  • Inflammation / genetics
  • Inflammation / pathology*
  • Lipopolysaccharides
  • Mice
  • Muscle, Smooth / pathology
  • Receptor, PAR-1
  • Receptor, PAR-2
  • Receptors, Thrombin / genetics*
  • Reference Values
  • Serum Albumin
  • Urinary Bladder / pathology*


  • Dinitrophenols
  • Lipopolysaccharides
  • Receptor, PAR-1
  • Receptor, PAR-2
  • Receptors, Thrombin
  • Serum Albumin
  • protease-activated receptor 3
  • protease-activated receptor 4