World J Mens Health.  2021 Jan;39(1):131-138. 10.5534/wjmh.190089.

Three-Dimensional Reconstruction of Neurovascular Network in Whole Mount Preparations and ThickCut Transverse Sections of Mouse Urinary Bladder

  • 1National Research Center for Sexual Medicine and Department of Urology, Inha University School of Medicine, Incheon, Korea.
  • 2Department of Pharmacology and Medicinal Toxicology Research Center, Inha University School of Medicine, Incheon, Korea.


Proper functional and structural integrity of nervous and vascular system in urinary bladder plays an important role in normal bladder function and the disruption of these structures is known to be related to lower urinary tract symptoms. Here, we present an immunohistochemical staining method that delineates neurovascular structures in the mouse urinary bladder by using immunohistochemical staining with three-dimensional reconstruction.
Materials and Methods
The urinary bladder was harvested from 8-week-old C57BL/6 male mouse. Lamina propria and detrusor muscle layer were dissected for whole mount staining, and thick-cut (60-μm) sections were prepared for full-thickness bladder staining. Immunofluorescent staining of bladder tissue was performed with antibodies against CD31 (an endothelial cell marker), smooth muscle α-actin (a smooth muscle cell marker), NG2 (a pericyte marker), and βIII-tubulin (a neuronal marker). We reconstructed three-dimensional images of bladder neurovascular system from stacks of two-dimensional images.
Three-dimensional images obtained from thick-cut sections clearly provided good anatomic information about neurovascular structures in the three layers of bladder, such as urothelium, lamina propria, and detrusor muscle layer. Whole mount images of lamina propria and detrusor muscle layer also clearly delineated spatial relationship between nervous and vascular systems. The microvessel density was higher in the lamina propria than in the detrusor muscle layer. Nerve fibers were evenly innervated into the lamina propria and detrusor muscle.
This study provides comprehensive insight into three-dimensional neurovascular structures of mouse urinary bladder. Our technique may constitute a standard tool to evaluate pathologic changes in a variety of urinary bladder diseases.


Blood vessels; Mouse; Nervous system; Three-dimensional imaging; Urinary bladder
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