We investigated the plasticity effects of diabetes mellitus and diuresis on the non-adrenergic non-cholinergic (NANC) and purinergic (P2X-type) contractile responses in longitudinal rat bladder strips. Female Sprague-Dawley rats received streptozotocin to induce diabetes, or sucrose in water to induce diuresis as a control condition for polyuria. Experiments were carried out at four weeks after treatments, using bladders from non-treated rats as control. Urinary bladder strips were electrically stimulated throughout the experiments to generate neurally evoked contractions (NEC). In all cases, P2X-mediated purinergic contractions were evaluated at the beginning and end of the stimulations with α,β-methylene-adenosine triphosphate (α,βMeATP). The NANC responses were assessed by using two independent protocols. First, cholinergic receptors were activated with carbachol (CCh), followed by inhibition of the muscarinic component with atropine. In the second protocol, the application order for CCh and atropine was reversed. The NANC response, unmasked with the application of atropine, and the P2X purinergic contractions were analyzed. NANC contractions in diabetic bladder strips are more resistant to the desensitizing effects caused by activation of cholinergic receptors. In early stages of experimental diabetes, NANC responses in diabetic strips are less sensitive to functional inhibition mediated by the cholinergic activation. However, P2X-mediated purinergic contractions are more sensitive to desensitization in diabetic or diuretic bladders. For instance preventing muscarinic receptor activation with atropine does not counteract the desensitization of purinergic contractions in either diabetic or diuretic strips. We suggest that diabetes may induce a plasticity of the NANC and P2X-mediated bladder contractile responses. The first one may be associated with diabetic neuropathic damage to bladder nerves, while impaired P2X purinergic contractions might be associated with detrusor hypertrophy observed in diabetic and diuretic strips.
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