The Role of Fibrosis and Atrophy in Age & Injury related Pelvic & Genital-Urinary Disorders
The most common genito-urinary and pelvic floor disorders that affect the aging population are: anal/urinary incontinence and sexual dysfunction in men. For the analogous muscles, age-related atrophy and fibrosis have been shown to play a major role in the disorders. With increasing age comes the inability for the body to properly moderate the connective tissue and inflammatory response after an injury. Although the specific mechanisms underlying fibrosis are unclear, certain pathways such as TGF- β and the Wnt/ β -cat pathway have been known to be a key contributor in the development of fibrosis. Furthermore, in patients with erectile dysfunction, diabetes related fibrosis could be a potential source of increased collagen deposition. In order to explore these conditions, protein expression through Western blot for various atrophic and fibrotic markers of the TGF-β, Wnt/ β -cat, and Girdin pathway in skeletal muscle tissues was performed. Our findings suggest that the markers do tend to increase expression in injured/aging conditions for the particular muscles. This study may show insight into the role Wnt/ β-cat pathway may play in the spontaneous repair and regeneration in the sphincter and pelvic floor muscles that are prone to injury during childbirth for women. In addition, the Wnt/TGFB/Girdin signaling in the age related changes in the external anal sphincter and pelvic floor muscle requires more exploration with the increasing elderly population in the United States.