Modelling afferent nerve responses to bladder filling

A problem presented at the UK MMSG Cambridge 2014.

Presented by:
Prof Richard Clayton (Department of Computer Science, University of Sheffield)
Dr Donna Daly (Department of Biomedical Science, University of Sheffield)
Prof David Grundy (Department of Biomedical Science, University of Sheffield)
Participants:
M Argungu, S Bayram, B Brook, B Chakrabarti, R Clayton, D Daly, R Dyson, D Grundy, C Holloway, V Manhas, S Naire, T Shearer, R Simitev

Problem Description

The bladder stores and eliminates urine from the body via a complex micturition cycle of filling and emptying, involving autonomic and somatic nerves. Alterations in the cycle give rise to clinical conditions such as overactive bladder syndrome (OAB) and urinary incontinence (UI). Until recently, research focussed on the mechanisms which drive bladder contractility and govern smooth muscle function. However it has now become clear that the sensory nerves wh ich detect bladder filling and trigger the micturition cycle may drive the symptoms of these disorders and could even be attractive drug targets. This has led to studies looking at the function of these nerves in animals. However a detailed and integrative understanding of the interactions between the different signalling mechanisms remains elusive. A mathematical model which can describe how sensory nerves respond to bladder filling, and how afferent signals change as a result of disease or ageing would accelerate urology research and potentially reduce our reliance on traditional animal models.

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Study Group Report

During the study group several preliminary models were developed, which were able to qualitatively reproduce experimental findings, demonstrating that models of stretch sensitive channels and visco-elasticity could account for experimental observations.

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