Renal pelvic and calyceal dynamics constitute the processes that transport urine in the upper urinary tract. These processes include the proximal pacemaker system, propagation of urine flow within the renal pelvis, and the initiation of ureteral peristalsis. Past models recognized the use of coupled oscillators to explain their integration. However, these models lack structural realism in two and three dimensions and fail to address calyceal synchrony or a mechanism that accounts for the continuation of propagation in the ureter.
By considering the smooth muscle of the renal pelvis and ureter as excitable media, functions such as spiral waves and soliton-like behavior can be used to model the traveling wave phenomenon found. Data for analysis of the proximal mechanisms - pacemaker activity and synchrony will be derived from in vitro cell culture and animal laboratory monitoring of calyceal contractile activity. Data for ureteral modeling will be derived from dynamic radiographic images such as nuclear medicine scans.
Published research by this group further establishes renal pacemaker cells, also known as atypical smooth muscle cells, as true pacer cells with a mechanism similarly found in cardiac nodal cells and brain tissue.