Passive biaxial mechanical properties of the rat bladder wall after spinal cord injury.
PURPOSE: Changes in the mechanical properties of the bladder wall after spinal cord injury can alter bladder compliance and wall tension, leading to changes in afferent nerve activity and to abnormal reflex mechanisms. To our knowledge we report the first application of biaxial mechanical testing to the normal bladder wall and demonstrate how these properties change after spinal cord injury. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Whole bladders were harvested from mature female Sprague-Dawley rats weighing 250 to 300 gm. Test group animals underwent complete spinal cord transection at the T9 to T10 level and normal animals comprised the control group. The bladders were cut open longitudinally, the trigone and apex were removed and the remaining tissue was trimmed to a square of 9 to 13 mm. per side. Mechanical properties of the tissue sample were tested using planar biaxial testing, in which a stress was applied in the circumferential and longitudinal (base-apex) directions, and resulting axial strains were measured. RESULTS: In normal and spinal cord injured rats bladder wall tissue demonstrated isotropic mechanical behavior when equal stress levels were applied in anatomical directions. However, under nonequi-biaxial loading bladder specimens were not truly isotropic but displayed anisotropic-like behavior. Spinal cord injured tissues were consistently more compliant than normal controls. CONCLUSIONS: Biaxial mechanical testing can detect differences in normal control and hypertrophied rat bladders 10 and 14 days after spinal cord injury. These changes represent an important component of the bladder response to spinal cord injury.
Gloeckner, DC; Sacks, MS; Fraser, MO; Somogyi, GT; de Groat, WC; Chancellor, MB
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