Multiple urinary bladder wall (UBW) pathologies, such as overactive bladder, bladder outlet obstruction, spinal cord injury (SCI) and related neurogenic disorders, and diabetes result in tissue remodeling marked by hypertrophic bladder smooth muscle cells (BSMC) and altered extra-cellular matrix components. This remodeling results in changes in UBW biomechanical properties leading to altered bladder function. Our previous studies have revealed that during the initial areflexic phase of SCI the UBW undergoes profound remodeling that appears to be a compensatory mechanism for the increased wall stretch resulting from over-distension [1, 2]. Remodeling in the bladder wall results in changes in biomechanics and ultimately the ability of the organ to normally fill and void [3]. The stimuli and precise mechanisms that are responsible for bladder remodeling in SCI and the aforementioned pathologies remain unknown. The objective of the present study is to determine the effects of varied in vitro strain on ECM production in the ex vivo rat bladder as a first step toward understanding tissue remodeling in response to strain.

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