Active and Passive Compliance of the Fetal Bovine Bladder

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PurposeOthers have shown that the fetal bovine bladder is relatively noncompliant. Previous studies on compliance of fetal bovine bladders have demonstrated that the youngest fetal bladders had lowest and the oldest fetal bladders (near full-term) had greatest compliance. Our study was designed to determine the level of participation of active tension in the compliance of fetal bladders during gestation.Materials and MethodsFetal bovine bladders were obtained immediately after maternal harvest and crown-to-rump length was measured to determine gestational age. The fetus was inspected for genitourinary anomalies and the bladder was immediately placed in chilled M199 media. Strips (1 x 0.5 cm.) were excised from the anterior sagittal plane of the bladder and subjected to length-tension analysis in oxygenated Tyrode's buffer at 37C. Tension was measured using a force transducer and length was increased using a micropositioner. Compliance refers to the length-tension studies performed in normal Tyrode's solution and consists of a combination of active (smooth muscle tone) and passive properties. Passive compliance refers to length-tension studies performed after inactivation of bladder smooth muscle tone. Compliance with muscle tone intact was determined by incrementally stretching the strips to twice resting length in physiological buffer and then permitting them to return to resting length. Passive compliance with muscle tone ablated was determined in the same fashion after overnight incubation in calcium-free Tyrode's buffer in the presence of 5 mM. egtazic acid and 10 mM. sodium azide. An exponential function was fit to the normalized length-tension curves, where the exponential coefficient (EC) is numerically inversely proportional to compliance.ResultsPassive compliance was greatest in the youngest bladders (EC = 0.5 in the first trimester) and gradually decreased with increasing fetal age (EC = 1.2 in the third trimester). Active compliance demonstrated the opposite pattern, since the younger bladders were more stiff (EC = 2.1 in the first and 1.6 in the third trimesters).ConclusionsThese studies demonstrate that passive compliance is greatest in the youngest bladders and progressively decreases with gestation. However, active smooth muscle tone is greatest in the youngest bladders and decreases with gestation. Thus, high active smooth muscle tone in the youngest fetal bladders results in relatively poor compliance of the early stage fetal bladder.

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