Signs of damage in pelvic floor muscles at the end of pregnancy in rabbits

  • Octavio Sánchez-García
  • Laura G. Hernández-Aragón
  • Kenia López-García
  • Margarita Juárez
  • Margarita Martínez-Gómez
  • Francisco CastelánEmail author
Original Article


Introduction and hypothesis

Temporary effects to pelvic floor muscles are linked to impairments in micturition, particularly stress urinary incontinence (SUI), during pregnancy. We hypothesize that bulbospongiosus (Bsm) and pubococcygeus (Pcm) are differently damaged in primigravid and primiparous rabbits.


Twenty-four rabbits allocated evenly (n = 6) into nulliparous, pregnant, and primiparous groups on postpartum days 3 (P3) and 20 (P20) were used to evaluate the myofiber cross-sectional area (CSA), β-glucuronidase activity, and anti-3-nitrotyrosine (anti-3-NTyr) immunoreactivity in Bsm and Pcm muscles. Appropriate statistical tests were done to determine significant differences among groups (P ≤ 0.05).


The average CSA of Bsm was not significantly different, albeit a high percentage of myofibers was enlarged in late-pregnant and primiparous rabbits on P3; β-glucuronidase activity and indirect parameter of muscle damage was also higher. These variables did not change in the Pcm muscle during the different reproductive stages. In contrast, the 3-NTyr immunoreactivity, an indicator of oxidative damage, was increased on P3 for Pcm myofibers and P20 for myofibers of both muscles.


Our findings demonstrate reliable signs of damage to Bsm and Pcm muscles in young female rabbits passing different reproductive stages. Damage to the Bsm muscles as detected at the end of pregnancy persisted after delivery. This was not the case for Pcm muscles, in which damage seems to appear after delivery.


Bulbospongiosus muscle Pubococcygeus muscle Inflammation Primiparity Reproduction 





Analysis of variance


Bulbospongiosus muscle


Cross-sectional area


External urethral sphincter




Ligament suspensory of clitoris


Lower urogenital tract


Nitric oxide


Nitric oxide synthase


Pubococcygeus muscle


Pelvic floor muscles




Reactive oxygen species


Stress urinary incontinence

Th cells

T helper cell types.



The authors thank Jesus Ramses Chávez Ríos and Laura García Rivera for their excellent technical assistance. This study was partially granted by the Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología of México (Infraestructura 225126) to the Cuerpo Académico de Fisiología del Comportamiento (MMG, FC).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflicts of interest



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Copyright information

© The International Urogynecological Association 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centro Tlaxcala de Biología de la ConductaUniversidad Autónoma de TlaxcalaTlaxcalaMexico
  2. 2.Departamento de Biología y Toxicología de la Reproducción, Instituto de CienciasBenemérita Universidad Autónoma de PueblaPueblaMexico
  3. 3.Instituto de FisiologíaBenemérita Universidad Autónoma de PueblaPueblaMexico
  4. 4.Departamento de Biología Celular y Fisiología, Instituto de Investigaciones BiomédicasUniversidad Nacional Autónoma de MéxicoMexico CityMexico

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