Bladder interstitial cells: an updated review of current knowledge

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Abstract

The field of bladder research has been energized by the study of novel interstitial cells (IC) over the last decade. Several subgroups of IC are located within the bladder wall and make structural interactions with nerves and smooth muscle, indicating integration with intercellular communication and key physiological functions. Significant progress has been made in the study of bladder ICs' cellular markers, ion channels and receptor expression, electrical and calcium signalling, yet their specific functions in normal bladder filling and emptying remain elusive. There is increasing evidence that the distribution of IC is altered in bladder pathophysiologies suggesting that changes in IC may be linked with the development of bladder dysfunction. This article summarizes the current state of the art of our knowledge of IC in normal bladder and reviews the literature on IC in dysfunctional bladder.

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