Lower urinary tract (LUT) symptoms become prevalent with aging and affect millions; however, therapy is often ineffective because the etiology is unknown. Existing assays of LUT function in animal models are often invasive; however, a noninvasive assay is required to study symptom progression and determine genetic correlates. Here, we present a spontaneous voiding assay that is simple, reproducible, quantitative, and noninvasive. Young female mice from eight inbred mouse strains (129S1/SvImJ, A/J, C57BL/6J, NOD/ShiLtJ, NZO/H1LtJ, CAST/EiJ, PWK/PhJ, and WSB/EiJ) were tested for urination patterns on filter paper. Repeat testing at different times of the day showed minimal within-individual and within-strain variations, but all parameters (spot number, total volume, percent area in primary void, corner voiding, and center voiding) exhibited significant variations between strains. Calculation of the intraclass correlation coefficient, an estimate of broad-sense heritability, for each time of day and for each voiding parameter revealed highly significant heritability [spot number: 61%, percent urine in primary void: 90%, and total volume: 94% (afternoon data)]. Cystometrograms confirmed strong strain-specific urodynamic characteristics. Behavior-voiding correlation analysis showed no correlation with anxiety phenotypes. Diagnostically, the assay revealed LUT symptoms in several systems, including a demonstration of voiding abnormalities in older C57BL/6J mice (18-24 mo), in a model of protamine sulfate-induced urothelial damage and in a model of sucrose-induced diuresis. This assay may be used to derive pathophysiological LUT readouts from mouse models. Voiding characteristics are heritable traits, opening the way for genetic studies of LUT symptoms using outbred mouse populations.
Keywords: animal model; bladder; heritability; lower urinary tract symptoms; micturition.
Copyright © 2014 the American Physiological Society.