Urethral flow-responsive afferents in the cat sacral dorsal root ganglia.
Although sensory feedback from the urethra plays an integral role in the regulation of lower urinary tract function, little is known about the properties of flow-responsive primary afferent neurons. The purpose of this study was to characterize the activity of sacral afferents that responded to fluid flow through the urethra. Single neuron action potentials were recorded extracellularly from the S1 and S2 dorsal root ganglia in eight cats anesthetized with α-chloralose. 21 of 116 cells responded to urethral flow but not to mechanical palpation of the perineum, 22 responded to both urethral flow and palpation, and 27 responded to palpation only. 34 of the 43 flow-responsive cells exhibited a firing response to 10 ml flow boluses that could be fit using a power function: FR(t)=a×(t)(b)+c, where FR is firing rate, t is time, and a, b and c are constants. In all 34 cells the 'b' term was negative, indicating that the firing rate slowed over the time course of the urethral flow. In 16 of the 24 cells that were recorded during at least four different flow rates, a power function provided a good fit of the relationship between firing rate and flow rate: FR(flow)=k×(flow)(p)+q, where k, p and q are constants. In each of these 16 cells the 'p' term was positive, indicating that the firing rate tended to increase with increases in flow rate. These are the first data to characterize the properties of flow-responsive afferents in the cat, and reveal properties that parallel those of other afferents.
Snellings, AE; Yoo, PB; Grill, WM
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