May 1, 2024

A team of researchers recently delved into lower urinary tract (LUT) dysfunction, a common issue among older adults that brings challenges like incontinence, urinary infections, and reliance on catheters. These struggles often lead to a loss of independence and a need for extended care. But what causes this problem?


Researchers at the California and Wisconsin National Primate Research Centers alongside researchers from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai set out to uncover the secrets behind LUT dysfunction, focusing on adult and aged female rhesus monkeys, giving them insights into how the issue develops in humans.


They discovered a connection between detrusor underactivity (DU), which affects bladder muscle tone, and specific metabolic markers. These markers act like clues that help researchers understand the bigger picture.


The bladder’s functioning relies on smooth muscle fibers arranged in a pattern known as the detrusor muscle. This unique structure allows the bladder to stretch and contract effectively.


Researchers also noticed patterns among the aged subjects. These subjects exhibited markers commonly associated with metabolic syndrome, such as changes in weight, triglyceride levels, lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), alanine aminotransferase (ALT), and high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP). Interestingly, some markers, like Aspartate aminotransferase (AST), remained unchanged, while the AST/ALT ratio took an unexpected turn.


This means there is a link between detrusor underactivity and metabolic syndrome in older female primates. Factors like prior pregnancies and menopause didn’t sway the results, making this connection even more intriguing.


Dr. Ricki Colman, an associate professor of cell and regenerative biology at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and one of the study’s authors, emphasized the practical significance of their findings: “Our findings provide insights into possible mechanisms for age-associated detrusor underactivity and may guide new strategies to prevent and treat LUT dysfunction in older adults.”


As this chapter in the research unfolds, it’s clear that the relationship between LUT dysfunction and metabolism holds promise for shedding light on a common issue and uncovering new ways to address it.

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