Activation and inhibition of the micturition reflex by penile afferents in the cat.
Coordination of the urinary bladder and the external urethral sphincter is controlled by descending projections from the pons and is also subject to modulation by segmental afferents. We quantified the effects on the micturition reflex of sensory inputs from genital afferents traveling in the penile component of the somatic pudendal nerve by electrical stimulation of the dorsal nerve of the penis (DNP) in alpha-chloralose anesthetized male cats. Depending on the frequency of stimulation (range, 1-40 Hz), activation of penile afferents either inhibited contractions of the bladder and promoted urine storage or activated the bladder and produced micturition. Stimulation of the DNP at 5-10 Hz inhibited distension-evoked contractions and increased the maximum bladder capacity before incontinence. Conversely, stimulation at 33 and 40 Hz augmented distension-evoked contractions. When the bladder was filled above a threshold volume (70% of the volume necessary for distension-evoked contractions), stimulation at 20-40 Hz activated de novo the micturition reflex and elicited detrusor contractions that increased voiding efficiency compared with distension-evoked voiding. Electrical stimulation of the DNP with a cuff electrode or percutaneous wire electrode produced similar results. The ability to evoke detrusor contractions by activation of the DNP was preserved following acute spinal cord transection. These results demonstrate a clear role of genital afferents in modulating the micturition reflex and suggest the DNP as a potential target for functional restoration of bladder control using electrical stimulation.
Woock, JP; Yoo, PB; Grill, WM
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