Let’s hear it for the rats

Lab_mice

On the other hand, the rats with irritated bladders had more bladder muscle spasms when the bladder pressure rose above a certain point, showing problems as the bladder fills, which is typical of IC patients.

This arrived in my email box this morning. I receive regular updates from the ICA – Interstitial Cystitis Association – website. These include listings of all the research currently being conducted – on people, as well as animals.

When I read about the animal tests, something in me (maybe my bladder?) curls up in sympathetic reaction. Oh how I wish we didn’t have to create pain in a little mouse bladder in order to help us understand what is going on in OUR bladders. You see, I know how that pain FEELS. It HURTS! Once I was reading how the mice who are in pain draw their feet up closer to their bodies, and it took me to the place where I have to curl into a fetal position when my pain is at its worst.

I’m sorry, little mouse. 

But I did realize that he or she will only experience the pain for a short time, compared to those of us who live with the disease for years…. and years…. and years. I also spoke with a young friend who works in a lab who was able to give me a little better perspective. She works with mice, who are well treated and never allowed to suffer for long. Yet I still wish we had a better way.

So today let’s give thanks to the little animals who are working hard to help us find cures for diseases like interstitial cystitis.

http://www.ichelp.org/sslpage.aspx?pid=442#Sep2011_11

Jin LH, Shin HY, Kwon YH, Park CS, Yoon SM, Lee T. Urodynamic findings in an awake chemical cystitis rat model observed by simultaneous registrations of intravesical and intraabdominal pressures. Int Neurourol J. 2010 Apr;14(1):54-60. Epub 2010 Apr 30. 
Researchers need to tease out the physiology of IC and test drugs first on laboratory animals. But when the animals don’t show all the typical characteristics of IC, that can make drawing research conclusions difficult. In this study, researchers did urodynamics on bladders of rats that had an induced chemical cystitis and on rats that only had instillations of saline. Unlike IC patients, the animals with irritated bladders actually had greater bladder capacity, volume of voided urine, volume of urine left in the bladder after urination, and longer times between urinations than those that got saline. On the other hand, the rats with irritated bladders had more bladder muscle spasms when the bladder pressure rose above a certain point, showing problems as the bladder fills, which is typical of IC patients.

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