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Vol. 78 Issue 3 (July-September 2011)

From lab to clinical activity: adrenergic receptors and human uro-genital tissues

From lab to clinical activity: adrenergic receptors and human uro-genital tissues
Dal laboratorio alla clinica: recettori adrenergici e tessuti umani dell’apparato uro-genitale

Urologia 2011; 78(3): 153 - 160




Angelica Grasso, Francesco Rocco


Background. Nowadays translational medicine is acquiring a more and more important role in connecting laboratory experimental results on human tissues to clinical findings and drug employment. We want to underline the importance of in vitro studies, which have been extensively performed on animal organs, but few studies have been performed on human tissues. Nevertheless, a more accurate result when compared to the in vivo use of drugs can be given only by testing the very same human tissues in a lab.
We related clinical treatments of different pathologies with the results obtained in laboratory studying in vitro fragments of human organs extracted during surgery exposed to different mediators and drugs.
Methods. Fragments of urethers, bladder (detrusorial muscle and bladder neck muscle fibers), corpora cavernosa, and vas deferens were extracted during demolitive surgery trying not to traumatize the tissue, in order to keep it alive and not to ruin its contractile fibers. The fragments were then put into polisaline solution and, once in the laboratory, fixed on suitable isolated organ support, fixed at one side of the thermostatic pool and on the other side connected to a digital monitoring system. The contractility was then studied after adding different mediators.
Results. The urethers have shown a stronger response to NE and PGF2a, with a different contractility in their distal part due to a major concentration of alpha-receptors; the bladder neck has also shown a strong contractile response to NE and PGF2a, and is inhibited by alpha-blockers; the bladder detrusor, instead, responds to ACH (acetylcholine) and PGF2a; the vas deferens shows a different type of contractility in the prostatic part compared to the epididimary part when stimulated with noradrenaline and PGF2a; the corpora cavernosa respond to NE and PGF2a.
Conclusions. The results obtained after stimulating the fragments can explain and prove the receptorial activity of inner mediators and of commonly used drugs which have, for years, been used empirically; the simplicity and repetitivity of the method can be considered and used not only to research the physiological functioning of different organs, but also the functioning of new drugs before testing them on patients, being more reliable and accurate than tests on animal tissues. This experimental work has shown that using human tissues in testing specific mediators is the most reliable laboratory method.

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  • Grasso, Angelica [PubMed] [Google Scholar]
    Urologia, Università degli Studi di Milano, Fondazione IRCCS Ca’ Granda Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico, Milano - Italy
  • Rocco, Francesco [PubMed] [Google Scholar]
    Urologia, Università degli Studi di Milano, Fondazione IRCCS Ca’ Granda Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico, Milano -Italy.

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