The function of the lower urinary tract is basically storage of urine in the bladder and the at-will periodic evacuation of the stored urine. Urinary incontinence is one of the most common lower urinary tract disorders in adults, but especially in the elderly female. The urethra, its sphincters, and the pelvic floor are key structures in the achievement of continence, but their basic anatomy is little known and, to some extent, still incompletely understood. Because questions with respect to continence arise from human morbidity, but are often investigated in rodent animal models, we present findings in human and rodent anatomy and histology. Differences between males and females in the role that the pelvic floor plays in the maintenance of continence are described. Furthermore, we briefly describe the embryologic origin of ureters, bladder, and urethra, because the developmental origin of structures such as the vesicoureteral junction, the bladder trigone, and the penile urethra are often invoked to explain (clinical) observations. As the human pelvic floor has acquired features in evolution that are typical for a species with bipedal movement, we also compare the pelvic floor of humans with that of rodents to better understand the rodent (or any other quadruped, for that matter) as an experimental model species. The general conclusion is that the "Bauplan" is well conserved, even though its common features are sometimes difficult to discern.
|Title of host publication||Handbook of Experimental Pharmacology|
|Publication status||Published - 1 Jan 2011|