Development of an experimental system for the study of urethral biomechanical function.
Despite its principal mechanical function in the storage and release of urine, the biomechanical properties of the urethra have remained largely unexplored. The purpose of this study was to develop and validate an experimental model that can be used for evaluating whole urethral tissue in such a manner. Bladder-urethral specimens were excised from halothane-anesthetized female rats and mounted at in vivo length within the experimental apparatus consisting of a tissue perfusion chamber, an adjustable fluid column, and a laser micrometer. Outer diameter measurements were made at proximal, mid, and distal axial locations in response to increases in intraluminal pressure and after addition of various muscle-responsive agents. Basal smooth muscle tone and regional variations in compliance were detected through pressure-diameter responses. Chemically evoked contractile responses were measured and correspond to regional compositions of intrinsic smooth and striated muscle components. The results presented illustrate the utility of this system, which should permit a more thorough characterization of structure-function relationships and urethral biomechanical function in relation to normal and dysfunctional tissue states.
Jankowski, RJ; Prantil, RL; Fraser, MO; Chancellor, MB; De Groat, WC; Huard, J; Vorp, DA
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