Abstract

The urinary bladder is a highly dynamic organ that undergoes large deformations several times per day. Mechanical characteristics of the tissue are crucial in determining the function and dysfunction of the organ. Yet, literature reporting on the mechanical properties of human bladder tissue is scarce and, at times, contradictory. In this study, we focused on mechanically testing tissue from both human and pig bladders using identical protocols to validate the use of pigs as a model for the human bladder. Furthermore, we tested the effect of two treatments on tissue mechanical properties. Namely, elastase to digest elastin fibers, and oxybutynin to reduce smooth muscle cell spasticity. Additionally, mechanical properties based on the anatomical direction of testing were evaluated. We implemented two different material models to aid in the interpretation of the experimental results. We found that human tissue behaves similarly to pig tissue at high deformations (collagen-dominated behavior) while we detected differences between the species at low deformations (amorphous matrix-dominated behavior). Our results also suggest that elastin could play a role in determining the behavior of the fiber network. Finally, we confirmed the anisotropy of the tissue, which reached higher stresses in the transverse direction when compared to the longitudinal direction.

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