Purpose: The basic premise of this symposium (Workshop 7) at the 2004 International Continence Society meeting in Paris was to elucidate different mechanisms of urothelial cell pathology, explore their impact on bladder function and discuss novel therapeutic interventions. Results: The topics included 1) urothelial structure and function, 2) the role of adenosine triphosphate in urothelial signaling and cystitis, 3) lamina propria myofibroblasts and purinergic receptors, 4) antiproliferative factor involvement in interstitial cystitis, 5) the urothelium as a reservoir for bacterial infections, 6) radiation cystitis, nitric oxide and gene therapy, and 7) intravesical treatments. Discussion: It was agreed that the urothelium can no longer be regarded merely as a passive barrier separating urine from the underlying tissues. The epithelial cells of the urothelium form part of an integrated network that also includes afferent and possibly efferent nerves, and suburothelial myofibroblasts. It has a central role in several functions, including bladder wall sensation, local blood flow modulation, pathogen removal and active barrier provision. These functions are achieved through several autocrine and paracrine pathways that involve transmitter release from the urothelium and its ability to integrate incoming signals through its battery of membrane receptors. Several pathological processes were discussed using this knowledge, including the role of small glycoproteins released during interstitial cystitis, the molecular basis of radiation induced urothelial damage, the origin of recurrent urinary tract infections and the mode of action of potential intravesical treatments for overactive bladder. Conclusions: Overall it was concluded that the urothelium has a key role in regulating lower urinary tract physiology and pathology.
- adenosine triphosphate
- urinary tract infections