Age-related changes in murine bladder structure and sensory innervation: a multiphoton microscopy quantitative analysis

Anna Schueth*, Bart Spronck, Marc A. M. J. van Zandvoort, Gommert A. van Koeveringe

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Our study aimed to examine and quantify age-related structural alterations in the healthy mouse bladder using ex vivo two-photon laser scanning microscopy (TPLSM). Freshly dissected bladders from 25-, 52-, and 85-week-old C57bl/6J mice were examined, and morphological analyses and quantification of cell layers and nerves were performed. The numbers of stretched, curled, branched, and total number of nerves in volume units of the stained muscle layer were quantified. We observed differences in the bladder wall architecture and innervation with age. Especially in 85-week-old mice, age-related changes were found, including detachment of urothelial cells and an increase in connective tissue, intermingled with the smooth muscle fibers in the muscle layer (collagen-smooth muscle ratio of 1.15 ± 0.29). In 25- and 52-week-old mice, the collagen-smooth muscle ratios were 0.20 ± 0.04 and 0.31 ± 0.11, respectively, and a clear separation of collagen and muscle was observed. The overall number of nerves and the number of curled nerves were significantly higher in the 85-week-old mice (74.0 ± 13.0 and 25.9 ± 4.8, respectively), when comparing to 25-week-old mice (26.0 ± 2.7 and 6.7 ± 1.2, respectively) and 52-week-old mice (43.8 ± 4.3 and 22.1 ± 3.3, respectively). Significant age-related alterations in bladder morphology and innervation were found, when comparing freshly dissected bladder tissue from 25-, 52-, and 85-week-old mice. The higher number of curled nerves might be an indication of an increased neurotransmitter release, resulting in a higher nerve activity, with a part of the nerves being possibly mechanically impaired. This study shows that two-photon laser scanning microscopy of healthy aging male mice is a useful method to investigate and quantify the age-related changes in the bladder wall.

Original languageEnglish
Article number17
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalAge (Dordrecht, Netherlands)
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Aging
  • Mice
  • Multiphoton microscopy
  • Sensory innervation
  • Urinary bladder


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