Temporal pattern of stimulation modulates reflex bladder activation by pudendal nerve stimulation.
Reflex bladder activation and inhibition by electrical stimulation of pudendal nerve (PN) afferents is a promising approach to restore control of bladder function in persons with lower urinary tract dysfunction caused by disease or injury. The objective of this work was to determine whether bladder activation evoked by pudendal afferent stimulation was dependent on the temporal pattern of stimulation, and whether specific temporal patterns of stimulation produced larger bladder contractions than constant frequency stimulation.The mean and maximum contraction pressures evoked by different temporal patterns of stimulation of the dorsal genital branch of the pudendal nerve were measured under isovolumetric conditions in α-chloralose anesthetized cats. A computational model of the spinal neural network mediating the pudendo-vesical reflex was used to understand the mechanisms of different bladder responses to patterned stimulation.The pattern of stimulation significantly affected the magnitude of evoked bladder contractions; several temporal patterns were as effective as regular stimulation, but no pattern evoked larger bladder contractions. Random patterns and patterns with pauses, burst-like activity, or high frequency components evoked significantly smaller bladder contractions, supporting the use of regular frequency stimulation in the development of neural prosthetic approaches for bladder control.These results reveal that the bladder response to pudendal afferent stimulation is dependent on the pattern, as well as the frequency, of stimulation. The computational model revealed that the effects of patterned pudendal afferent stimulation were determined by the dynamic properties of excitatory and inhibitory interneurons in the lumbosacral spinal cord. Neurourol. Urodynam. 35:882-887, 2016. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
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