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Bladder innervation data from recent Southard-Smith lab publication in Developmental Biology | ATLAS-D2K Center


Bladder innervation data from recent Southard-Smith lab publication in Developmental Biology

May 3, 2021

The data below is from an upcoming publication by Michelle Southard-Smith in Developmental Biology: Altered sacral neural crest development in Pax3 spina bifida mutants underlies deficits of bladder innervation and function (

Abstract: Mouse models of Spina bifida (SB) have been instrumental for identifying genes, developmental processes, and environmental factors that influence neurulation and neural tube closure. Beyond the prominent neural tube defects, other aspects of the nervous system can be affected in SB with significant changes in essential bodily functions such as urination. SB patients frequently experience bladder dysfunction and SB fetuses exhibit reduced density of bladder nerves and smooth muscle although the developmental origins of these deficits have not been determined. The Pax3 Splotch-delayed (Pax3Sp-d) mouse model of SB is one of a very few mouse SB models that survives to late stages of gestation. Through analysis of Pax3Sp-d mutants we sought to define how altered bladder innervation in SB might arise by tracing sacral neural crest (NC) development, pelvic ganglia neuronal differentiation, and assessing bladder nerve fiber density. In Pax3Sp-d/Sp-d fetal mice we observed delayed migration of Sox10+ NC-derived progenitors (NCPs), deficient pelvic ganglia neurogenesis, and reduced density of bladder wall innervation. We further combined NC-specific deletion of Pax3 with the constitutive Pax3Sp-d allele in an effort to generate viable Pax3 mutants to examine later stages of bladder innervation and postnatal bladder function. Neural crest specific deletion of a Pax3 flox allele, using a Sox10-cre driver, in combination with a constitutive Pax3Sp-d mutation produced postnatal viable offspring that exhibited altered bladder function as well as reduced bladder wall innervation and altered connectivity between accessory ganglia at the bladder neck. Combined, the results show that Pax3 plays critical roles within sacral NC that are essential for initiation of neurogenesis and differentiation of autonomic neurons within pelvic ganglia.