Compensatory regrowth of the mouse bladder after partial cystectomy

Grace B. Delos Santos, Megan Y. Devine, Jessica Wetterlin, Paula R. Firmiss, Natalie A. Kukulka, Diana K. Bowen, Edward M. Gong, Robert W. Dettman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Cystectomy is the removal of all or part of the urinary bladder. It has been observed that there is significant regrowth of the bladder after partial cystectomy and this has been proposed to be through regeneration of the organ. Regrowth of tissue in mammals has been proposed to involve compensatory mechanisms that share many characteristics of true regeneration, like the growth of specialized structures such as blood vessels or nerves. However, the overall structure of the normal organ is not achieved. Here we tested if bladder growth after subtotal cystectomy (STC, removal of 50% of the bladder) was compensatory or regenerative. To do this we subjected adult female mouse bladders to STC and assessed regrowth using several established cellular parameters including histological, gene expression, cytokine accumulation and cell proliferation studies. Bladder function was analyzed using cystometry and the voiding stain on paper (VSOP) technique. We found that STC bladders were able to increase their ability to hold urine with the majority of volume restoration occurring within the first two weeks. Regenerating bladders had thinner walls with less mean muscle thickness, and they showed increased collagen deposition at the incision as well as throughout the bladder wall suggesting that fibrosis was occurring. Cell populations differed in their response to injury with urothelial regeneration complete by day 7, but stromal and detrusor muscle still incomplete after 8wks. Cells incorporated EdU when administered at the time of surgery and tracing of EdU positive cells over time indicated that many newborn cells originate at the incision and move mediolaterally. Basal urothelial cells and bladder mesenchymal stem cells but not smooth muscle cells significantly incorporated EdU after STC. Since anti-inflammatory cytokines play a role in regeneration, we analyzed expressed cytokines and found that no anti-inflammatory cytokines were present in the bladder 1wk after STC. Our findings suggest that bladder regrowth after cystectomy is compensatory and functions to increase the volume that the bladder can hold. This finding sets the stage for understanding how the bladder responds to cystectomy and how this can be improved in patients after suffering bladder injury.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0206436
JournalPloS one
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • General
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology


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