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Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 2012 Mar 1;302(5):R577-86. doi: 10.1152/ajpregu.00508.2011. Epub 2011 Dec 28.

Detrusor expulsive strength is preserved, but responsiveness to bladder filling and urinary sensitivity is diminished in the aging mouse.

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  • 1Center on Aging, University of Connecticut Health Center, Farmington, CT 06032, USA.


The prevalence of urinary symptoms increases with age and is a significant source of distress, morbidity, and expense in the elderly. Recent evidence suggests that symptoms in the aged may result from sensory dysfunction, rather than abnormalities of detrusor performance. Therefore, we employed a pressure/flow multichannel urethane-anesthetized mouse cystometry model to test the hypothesis that in vivo detrusor performance does not degrade with aging. Secondarily, we sought to evaluate sensory responsiveness to volume using pressure-volume data generated during bladder filling. Cystometric data from 2-, 12-, 22-, and 26-mo-old female C57BL6 mice were compared. All 2- and 12-mo-old mice, 66% of 22-mo-old mice, and 50% of 26-mo-old mice responded to continuous bladder filling with periodic reflex voiding. Abdominal wall contraction with voiding had a minimal contribution to expulsive pressure, whereas compliance pressure was a significant contributor. Maximum bladder pressure, estimated detrusor pressure, detrusor impulse (pressure-time integral), as well as indices of detrusor power and work, did not decrease with aging. Bladder precontraction pressures decreased, compliance increased, and nonvoiding contraction counts did not change with increasing age. Intervoid intervals, per-void volumes, and voiding flow rates increased with age. Calculations approximating wall stress during filling suggested loss of bladder volume sensitivity with increasing age. We conclude that aging is associated with an impaired ability to respond to the challenge of continuous bladder filling with cyclic voiding, yet among responsive animals, voiding detrusor contraction strength does not degrade with aging in this murine model. Furthermore, indirect measures suggest that bladder volume sensitivity is diminished. Thus, changes in homeostatic reserve and peripheral and/or central sensory mechanisms may be important contributors to aging-associated changes in bladder function.

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