Measurement of passive and active force in single isolated smooth muscle cells
In urodynamics, a subspecialism of urology, the function of the urinary tract is studied from a physical point of view, and methods are developed to objectively (and eventually automatically) diagnose the condition of the urinary tract. An important aspect of the function of the lower urinary tract is the contractility of the urinary bladder. Methods to measure this contractility are based on models developed using mechanical measurements on samples of bladder tissue. Such methods do not lead to a complete understanding of contractile properties of the (smooth muscle) tissue as the organization and structure of this tissue are irregular. Therefore measurements on single smooth muscle cells are necessary. Such measurements would also enable the use of smooth muscle biopsies for diagnostic reasons. In this chapter the development and first results of a practical method for measuring active and passive mechanical forces in single smooth muscle cells of the urinary bladder are described. Basically, such a method requires that viable and contractile cells can be isolated from the surrounding tissue and be attached to a transducer with sufficient resolution and stability to measure the very small forces involved. The three main issues isolation, attachment and force measurement will be separately discussed, and some first results will be shown.
KeywordsQuartz Platinum Hepes Fluorescein Collagenase
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