Increased extracellular matrix stiffness accompanies compromised bladder function in a murine model of radiation cystitis

Acta Biomater. 2022 May:144:221-229. doi: 10.1016/j.actbio.2022.03.017. Epub 2022 Mar 14.

Abstract

Radiation cystitis, a long-term bladder defect due to pelvic radiation therapy, results in lower urinary tract symptoms, such as urinary frequency and nocturia, suggestive of compromised bladder compliance. The goal of this study was to identify alterations to the mechanical behavior of the urinary bladder extracellular matrix of a murine model of radiation cystitis, at 3 and 6 months after radiation exposure. The results of this study demonstrated that the extracellular matrix of irradiated bladders was significantly less distensible when compared to age matching controls. These findings coincided with functional bladder changes, including increased number of voids and decreased voided volume. Both mechanical and functional changes were apparent at 3 months post-irradiation and were statistically significant at 6 months, demonstrating the progressive nature of radiation cystitis. Overall, the results of this study indicate that irradiation exposure changes both the mechanical and physiological properties of the bladder. STATEMENT OF SIGNIFICANCE: In humans, radiation cystitis results in lower urinary tract symptoms, such as urinary frequency and nocturia, suggestive of compromised bladder compliance. This pathology can significantly affect recovery and quality of life for cancer survivors. Gaining knowledge about how alterations to the mechanical behavior of the urinary bladder extracellular matrix can affect urinary function will have a significant impact on this population. The results of this study demonstrated that the extracellular matrix of irradiated bladders was significantly less distensible when compared to age matching controls, in a mouse model of radiation cystitis. These findings were accompanied by functional voiding changes, including increased number of voids and decreased voided volume. The results of this study uncovered that irradiation exposure changes the mechanical and physiological properties of the bladder.

Keywords: Bladder biomechanics; Bladder fibrosis; Radiation cystitis; Urinary tract dysfunction.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cystitis* / etiology
  • Cystitis* / pathology
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Extracellular Matrix / pathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Nocturia* / pathology
  • Quality of Life
  • Urinary Bladder