Lower urinary tract function is mainly assessed by means of cystometric bladder function analysis in rodents. Conventional cystometries are usually performed as terminal analysis under urethane anesthesia. It is well known that anesthetic drugs can influence bladder function. Hence, the aim of this technique is to perform cystometric measurements of the urinary bladder and external urethral sphincter in lightly restrained awake rats. For this purpose, a bladder catheter is implanted into the bladder dome. Subsequently, two electrodes are implanted bilateral to the external urethral sphincter and a ground electrode is sutured to a non-responsive skeletal muscle. The bladder catheter and the three electrodes are finally tunneled subcutaneously to the neck region and affixed to a harness. With this technique, the lower urinary tract can be measured at multiple time points in the same animal to assess lower urinary tract function. The main application of this technique is the follow-up of simultaneous urinary bladder and external urethral sphincter function in awake healthy rats and after induction of a disease or injury. Moreover, subsequent lower urinary tract monitoring can be performed during evaluation of the disease/injury and to monitor treatment efficacy.
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