This article was originally published here
Cell Commun Signal. 2021 Jul 20;19(1):78. doi: 10.1186/s12964-021-00755-6.
The urinary tract is highly innervated by autonomic nerves which are essential in urinary tract development, the production of growth factors, and the control of homeostasis. These neural signals may become dysregulated in several genitourinary (GU) disease states, both benign and malignant. Accordingly, the autonomic nervous system is a therapeutic target for several genitourinary pathologies including cancer, voiding dysfunction, and obstructing nephrolithiasis. Adrenergic receptors (adrenoceptors) are G-Protein coupled-receptors that are distributed throughout the body. The major function of α1-adrenoceptors is signaling smooth muscle contractions through GPCR and intracellular calcium influx. Pharmacologic intervention of α-and β-adrenoceptors is routinely and successfully implemented in the treatment of benign urologic illnesses, through the use of α-adrenoceptor antagonists. Furthermore, cell-based evidence recently established the antitumor effect of α1-adrenoceptor antagonists in prostate, bladder and renal tumors by reducing neovascularity and impairing growth within the tumor microenvironment via regulation of the phenotypic epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT). There has been a significant focus on repurposing the routinely used, Food and Drug Administration-approved α1-adrenoceptor antagonists to inhibit GU tumor growth and angiogenesis in patients with advanced prostate, bladder, and renal cancer. In this review we discuss the current evidence on (a) the signaling events of the autonomic nervous system mediated by its cognate α- and β-adrenoceptors in regulating the phenotypic landscape (EMT) of genitourinary organs; and (b) the therapeutic significance of targeting this signaling pathway in benign and malignant urologic disease. Video abstract.