Bladder-outlet obstruction leads to detrusor smooth-muscle hypertrophy/hyperplasia. Despite this overall increase in muscle mass, smooth-muscle contractility decreases and bladder emptying is impaired. The goal of this study was to determine whether smooth-muscle myosin heavy-chain (MHC) alterations occur in conjunction with partial obstruction of the rabbit bladder. Total MHC and MHC-isoform protein concentrations were determined by quantitative gel electrophoresis in rabbit bladders partially obstructed for 1-4 weeks. MHC gene expression was assessed by Northern and nuclease protection assays. Two MHC isoforms (SM1/SM2) were identified in the normal rabbit bladder. After 2 weeks of obstruction the ratio of SM1/SM2 changed from 0.4:0.6 to 0.5:0.5 (P < 0.01). As compared with sham-operated values, the level of MHC mRNA decreased significantly as of 1 day after obstruction. Quantitation of MHC-isoform mRNA levels revealed a nearly 3-fold increase in the SM1/SM2 ratio. In this animal model of bladder-outlet obstruction, early changes in MHC isoforms as well as an overall decrease of MHC mRNA expression were demonstrated, suggesting that obstruction induces significant alterations in myofilament gene expression.
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