Sensory and circuit mechanisms mediating lower urinary tract reflexes.
Neural control of continence and micturition is distributed over a network of interconnected reflexes. These reflexes integrate sensory information from the bladder and urethra and are modulated by descending influences to produce different physiological outcomes based on the information arriving from peripheral afferents. Therefore, the mode of activation of primary afferents is essential in understanding the action of spinal reflex pathways in the lower urinary tract. We present an overview of sensory mechanisms in the bladder and urethra focusing on their spinal integration, identify the cardinal spinal reflexes responsible for continence and micturition, and describe how their functional role is controlled via peripheral afferent activity.
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