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Am J Physiol Renal Physiol. 2012 Apr 15;302(8):F967-76. doi: 10.1152/ajprenal.00177.2011. Epub 2011 Dec 28.

Adjustable passive stiffness in mouse bladder: regulated by Rho kinase and elevated following partial bladder outlet obstruction.

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  • 1Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering, Virginia Commonwealth University, 401 West Main St., Richmond, VA 23284-3015, USA.


Detrusor smooth muscle (DSM) contributes to bladder wall tension during filling, and bladder wall deformation affects the signaling system that leads to urgency. The length-passive tension (L-T(p)) relationship in rabbit DSM can adapt with length changes over time and exhibits adjustable passive stiffness (APS) characterized by a L-T(p) curve that is a function of both activation and strain history. Muscle activation with KCl, carbachol (CCh), or prostaglandin E(2) at short muscle lengths can increase APS that is revealed by elevated pseudo-steady-state T(p) at longer lengths compared with prior T(p) measurements at those lengths, and APS generation is inhibited by the Rho Kinase (ROCK) inhibitor H-1152. In the current study, mouse bladder strips exhibited both KCl- and CCh-induced APS. Whole mouse bladders demonstrated APS which was measured as an increase in pressure during passive filling in calcium-free solution following CCh precontraction compared with pressure during filling without precontraction. In addition, CCh-induced APS in whole mouse bladder was inhibited by H-1152, indicating that ROCK activity may regulate bladder compliance during filling. Furthermore, APS in whole mouse bladder was elevated 2 wk after partial bladder outlet obstruction, suggesting that APS may be relevant in diseases affecting bladder mechanics. The presence of APS in mouse bladder will permit future studies of APS regulatory pathways and potential alterations of APS in disease models using knockout transgenetic mice.

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