Modulation of the spinobulbospinal micturition reflex pathway in cats

M. N. Kruse, B. S. Mallory, H. Noto, J. R. Roppolo, W. C. De Groat

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Micturition, which is mediated by a spinobulbospinal reflex pathway, can be modulated by various spinal and supraspinal mechanisms. This study examined modulation of the micturition reflex in decerebrate unanesthetized cats. Electrical stimulation of the pontine micturition center (PMC) elicited two types of bladder responses: small-amplitude short-duration responses due to direct activation of the bulbospinal pathway (PS-direct contractions) and large-amplitude long-duration reflex responses induced by PS-direct contractions but maintained by afferent feedback (PS-reflex contractions). Rectal and vaginal-cervical stimulation inhibited the PS-direct contractions, indicating inhibition of the descending or efferent limb of the micturition pathway. Stimulation of the central end of a transected S2 ventral root elicited recurrent inhibition of PS-reflex contractions but not of PS-direct contractions, indicating that recurrent inhibition does not directly affect the descending pathway. Continuous electrical stimulation (20 Hz) of the PMC decreased (53 ± 21%) bladder capacity, presumably by affecting transmission in the pons or ascending input to the pons. Thus the micturition reflex could be modulated at several sites: the pons, the ascending or descending pathways, or spinal interneuronal sites.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)R478-R484
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology
Issue number3 31-3
StatePublished - 1992

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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