Sympathetic and sensory innervation of the urinary tract in young adult and aged rats: a semi-quantitative histochemical and immunohistochemical study

Histochem J. 1994 Feb;26(2):127-33. doi: 10.1007/BF00157961.


The sympathetic innervation of the urinary tract of young adult (4 months) and aged (24+ months) rats has been examined by glyoxylic acid-induced fluorescence for the detection of noradrenaline and by immunofluorescence using antisera against tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) and neuropeptide Y (NPY). Immunostaining for calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP), known to be present in pelvic sensory nerves, was also performed. Semi-quantitative estimations of nerve densities were made of noradrenergic and peptidergic fibres innervating the smooth musculature of the ureter, bladder and urethra, and of the urinary tract vasculature. In the aged rats the overall patterns of innervation remained unchanged. However, with the exception of the vesical vasculature, the density of noradrenergic innervation decreased as did the intensity of histofluorescence. A similar pattern of results was observed by TH and NPY immunofluorescence. The results present evidence for a diminution in the sympathetic control of the urinary tract in aged rats. The pattern and density of CGRP-immunoreactive nerves was unchanged in the aged animals suggesting that pelvic visceral sensory innervation is more resistant to the effects of advancing age.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adrenergic Fibers / chemistry
  • Adrenergic Fibers / ultrastructure*
  • Aging*
  • Animals
  • Calcitonin Gene-Related Peptide / analysis
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique
  • Glyoxylates
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Male
  • Muscle, Smooth, Vascular / innervation
  • Neurons, Afferent / chemistry
  • Neurons, Afferent / ultrastructure*
  • Neuropeptide Y / analysis
  • Norepinephrine / analysis
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Tyrosine 3-Monooxygenase / analysis
  • Ureter / innervation
  • Urethra / innervation
  • Urinary Bladder / innervation
  • Urinary Tract / blood supply
  • Urinary Tract / innervation*


  • Glyoxylates
  • Neuropeptide Y
  • Tyrosine 3-Monooxygenase
  • Calcitonin Gene-Related Peptide
  • glyoxylic acid
  • Norepinephrine