Bladder epithelium what is it and what is it for

It is a hollow elastic organ located in the pelvic cavity, which serves for the concentration and accumulation of urine coming from the ureters, and its excretion.

Microscopically, its wall is represented by shells:

  • Mucous
    • Own plate
    • Submucosa
  • Muscular
  • Outer sheath

General characteristics of the epithelium

Epithelia are involved in the construction of almost all organs and are very diverse. They are layers of special cells – epithelial cells, which have a different shape and structure.


  • It is located on the basement membrane, which has a regenerative and transport function.
  • It has no blood vessels – trophism occurs due to the basement membrane.
  • It has polarity, that is, the upper and lower parts of the formation have their own characteristics and differences, for example, the presence of microvilli.
  • Has the highest regenerative capacity.

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1) Transitional epithelium
2) Own layer
3) Smooth muscle cells
4) Submucosa
5) The muscular layer

All types are subdivided into:

  • Single and multi-layer.
  • Keratinizing and non-keratinizing.

The epithelium of the urinary bladder is a special type of tissue lining the extensible organs when the volume of the organ changes, its thickness and structure change; it is called the multilayer transitional surface.

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This is a border tissue that separates the organ from the internal environment of the body, and also protects the underlying tissues from the chemical, physical and infectious effects of urine, creates conditions for stretching the muscular membrane for effective retention of even a large portion of fluid.

The transitional also covers other urinary organs – the renal pelvis, ureters.

When the wall is stretched due to the filling of the organ with secondary urine, the epithelial tissue becomes thinner and its cells flatten, while during the contraction of the wall, the mucous membrane forms numerous folds.

There are very tight contacts between the cells of the surface layer, preventing the penetration of liquid through the wall.

The lining of the bladder is located between two environments, is constantly exposed to chemicals such as urea, creatinine, sulfates, mineral salts, as well as a large proportion of fluid, so the cells quickly wear out and slough off, and then are quickly replaced by new ones. However, with age, the ability to regenerate significantly decreases.

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This integumentary tissue is very well innervated, that is, it has a large number of sensitive nerve endings, which allows the brain to receive timely signals about the organ stretching and the need to urinate.

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Frequent pathologies affecting the transitional epithelium

The tissue lining the bladder can be exposed to pathological agents, infectious processes, erosion, ulcers, and tumor neoplasms can occur on it.

The most common pathology affecting the inner surface of the bladder is cystitis, a nonspecific acute or chronic inflammation. With cystitis, the wall thickens, loses its elasticity and ability to stretch.

Hyperplasia, dysplasia and metaplasia caused by infections, nonspecific inflammatory processes, kidney stones, and drug metabolites are considered frequent occurrences. Such changes in the mucous membrane are classified as precancerous conditions, not necessarily subject to malignancy.

Hyperplasia is considered to be the growth of the inner lining of the bladder under the influence of toxic substances or mechanical stimuli.

Dysplasia – the appearance of atypical cells among specialized cells indicates a possible cancerous process, which can be benign, for example, papilloma, or malignant – transitional cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, adenocarcinoma.

Metaplasia – the degeneration of the multicellular transitional epithelium into another form can be glandular, squamous or nephrogenic.

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Biochemical analysis of urine for the presence of epithelial tissue

Biochemical research can detect the following types of cells:

  • Flat. It lines the lower parts of the urinary tract, the urethra, it can be present normally in single quantities, its indicators increase significantly with inflammation of the urethra.
  • Transition. It also occurs normally in a single amount, a sharp increase in women usually indicates pyelonephritis, cystitis, urolithiasis, in men – about prostatitis.
  • Renal. This type of epithelium lines the renal tubules and should not normally be seen in urine analysis. Its appearance indicates damage to the renal parenchyma.

Thus, the epithelium of the urinary bladder is not only a functionally important tissue, but also an essential diagnostic criterion that allows timely correct diagnosis based on its presence in biological fluids.

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Tatyana Jakowenko

Editor-in-chief of the Detonic online magazine, cardiologist Yakovenko-Plahotnaya Tatyana. Author of more than 950 scientific articles, including in foreign medical journals. He has been working as a cardiologist in a clinical hospital for over 12 years. He owns modern methods of diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular diseases and implements them in his professional activities. For example, it uses methods of resuscitation of the heart, decoding of ECG, functional tests, cyclic ergometry and knows echocardiography very well.

For 10 years, she has been an active participant in numerous medical symposia and workshops for doctors - families, therapists and cardiologists. He has many publications on a healthy lifestyle, diagnosis and treatment of heart and vascular diseases.

He regularly monitors new publications of European and American cardiology journals, writes scientific articles, prepares reports at scientific conferences and participates in European cardiology congresses.