ATP is released from rabbit urinary bladder epithelial cells by hydrostatic pressure changes--a possible sensory mechanism?

J Physiol. 1997 Dec 1;505 ( Pt 2)(Pt 2):503-11. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-7793.1997.503bb.x.


1. The responses of rabbit urinary bladder to hydrostatic pressure changes and to electrical stimulation have been investigated using both the Ussing chamber and a superfusion apparatus. These experiments enabled us to monitor changes in both ionic transport across the tissue and cellular ATP release from it. 2. The urinary bladder of the rabbit maintains an electrical potential difference across its wall as a result largely of active sodium transport from the urinary (mucosal) to the serosal surface. 3. Small hydrostatic pressure differences produced by removal of bathing fluid from one side of the tissue caused reproducible changes in both potential difference and short-circuit current. The magnitude of these changes increases as the volume of fluid removed increases. 3. Amiloride on the mucosal (urinary), but not the serosal, surface of the membrane reduces the transepithelial potential difference and short-circuit current with an IC50 of 300 nM. Amiloride reduces the size of, but does not abolish, transepithelial potential changes caused by alterations in hydrostatic pressure. 4. Field electrical stimulation of strips of bladder tissue produces a reproducible release of ATP. Such release was demonstrated to occur largely from urothelial cells and is apparently non-vesicular as it increases in the absence of calcium and is not abolished by tetrodotoxin. 5. It is proposed that ATP is released from the urothelium as a sensory mediator for the degree of distension of the rabbit urinary bladder and other sensory modalities.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenosine Triphosphate / metabolism*
  • Amiloride / pharmacology
  • Animals
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Epithelial Cells / drug effects
  • Epithelial Cells / physiology*
  • Female
  • Hydrostatic Pressure
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Male
  • Membrane Potentials / drug effects
  • Mucous Membrane / drug effects
  • Mucous Membrane / physiology
  • Rabbits
  • Time Factors
  • Urinary Bladder / physiology*


  • Amiloride
  • Adenosine Triphosphate