Biochemistry and Ultrastructure of Pelvic Floor Tissues and Organs

K. Downing

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Scopus citations


The pelvic floor is a complex system designed to support the pelvic organs. It relies upon the integration of muscular and connective tissue elements to do so effectively. Failure of this support apparatus leads to pelvic floor disorders (PFDs). Risk factors associated with PFDs have been well described, however the underlying pathogenesis remains obscure. A growing body of literature has indicated that a deeper understanding of the structure and function of these tissues, in particular, knowledge of their ultrastructure and biochemistry, will be necessary to make advances in the treatment and/or prevention of PFDs. Thus, the goals of this chapter are to (1) discuss the ultrastructural components of the pelvic floor musculature and connective tissue, (2) review the biochemical processes that modulate these tissues, and (3) describe what is known about the effect of pregnancy and parturition, and aging on these tissues and their component parts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationBiomechanics of the Female Pelvic Floor
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Number of pages28
ISBN (Electronic)9780128032299
ISBN (Print)9780128032282
StatePublished - Mar 23 2016


  • Anal sphincter
  • Biochemistry
  • Extracellular matrix
  • Levator ani muscles
  • Pelvic floor
  • Pelvic floor connective tissue
  • Smooth muscle
  • Striated muscle
  • Ultrastructure
  • Urethral sphincter

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Engineering
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology


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