Long-term effect of ovariectomy and simulated birth trauma on the lower urinary tract of female rats

Julio Resplande, Shahram S Gholami, Tulio M Graziottin, Rodman Rogers, Ching-Shwun Lin, Wendy Leng, Tom F Lue
Journal of Urology 2002, 168 (1): 323-30

PURPOSE: Using an animal model we studied the long-term effects of ovariectomy and simulated birth trauma in the development of apoptosis as well as the urodynamic, histological and ultrastructural findings 9 months after such procedures.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: A total of 24 pregnant Sprague-Dawley female rats were used. Immediately after delivery 14 animals underwent vaginal ballooning and ovariectomy, while the remaining 10 served as controls. At 9 months the animals underwent urodynamic evaluation, which included the urethral pressure profile. The rats were then sacrificed and urogenital tissue was obtained for immunostaining using terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase mediated deoxyuridine triphosphate nick end-labeling, histomorphometry evaluation and electron microscopy.

RESULTS: Immunostaining demonstrated a significant increase in the apoptotic index in the urethra of castrated/ballooning rats with a predominance in the submucosa layer. Maximum urethral closure pressure was significantly lower in that group, although there was no correlation of apoptosis with maximum urethral closure pressure measurement. Urodynamic evaluation revealed only discrete alterations in cystometric parameters. Morphometric evaluation showed increased connective tissue in the vagina. Electron microscopy of urethral smooth muscle demonstrated altered cellular shape, increased intercellular space with collagen deposition and some degeneration of the mitochondria.

CONCLUSIONS: Apoptosis in the urethra occurs 9 months after castration and simulated birth trauma. However, this finding was not seen in the muscle layers or in other urogenital tissues. Some ultrastructural changes also occurred that may explain some symptoms that women have after vaginal childbirth and menopause.

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