Age-dependence of the spontaneous activity of the rat urinary bladder
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Abnormal mechanical function of the bladder is manifested in a number of ways including higher frequency of involuntary detrusor contractions associated with reduced compliance of the bladder that is responsible for an increase in intraluminal pressure during filling. There are basically two ways to approach experimentally these problems: (1) by studying the neural control of the lower urinary tract function, and (2) by measuring the properties of smooth muscle cells in the bladder wall. Studies on smooth muscle function often do not take the origin of smooth muscle cells into account i.e., whether they were harvested from normal or overactive bladders. Although, this simplistic view may be beneficial to understanding the generation of the spontaneous activity of the bladder, however, it does not sufficiently explain the cell-to-cell propagation of the spontaneous smooth muscle activity. The spontaneous activity of smooth muscle is an important factor that works against the bladder compliance in the filling phase, and may inversely affect the neurally evoked response during micturition. The intensity of spontaneous activity is the age-dependent; it is high in neonatal bladders it is small or almost non-existent in adults and reemerges in older bladders. This review focuses on these age-dependent alterations of spontaneous bladder contractions and describes the possible mechanisms which may have important role in regulating the spontaneous contractions using the rat as an animal model.
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G.P. Szigeti holds Bolyai Fellowship from Hungarian Academy of Science. This work was supported by OTKA T049151 (for LCs) and DK-RO1 069988 (for GS).
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