Monday, March 16, 2009

"Skin-CNS-bladder" reflex pathway for micturition after spinal cord injury and its underlying mechanisms.

Xiao CG, de Groat WC, Godec CJ, Dai C, Xiao Q. (1999) "Skin-CNS-bladder" reflex pathway for micturition after spinal cord injury and its underlying mechanisms.
Journal of Urology. 1999 Sep;162(3 Pt 1):936-42.

PURPOSE: A "skin-CNS-bladder" reflex pathway for inducing micturition after spinal cord injury has been established in cat. This reflex pathway which is basically a somatic reflex arc with a modified efferent limb that passes somatic motor impulses to the bladder, has been designed to allow spinal cord injured patients to initiate voiding by scratching the skin.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: The skin-CNS-bladder reflex was established in the cat by intradural microanastomosis of the left L7 ventral root (VR) to the S1 VR while leaving the L7 dorsal root (DR) intact to conduct cutaneous afferent signals that can trigger the new micturition reflex arc. After allowing 11 weeks for axonal regeneration, urodynamic, pharmacological and electrophysiological studies were conducted in pentobarbital or chloralose anesthetized animals.

RESULTS: A detrusor contraction was initiated at short latency by scratching the skin or by percutaneous electrical stimulation in the L7 dermatome. Maximal bladder pressures during this stimulation were similar to those activated by bladder distension in control animals. Electrophysiological recording revealed that single stimuli (0.3 to 3 mA, 0.02 to 0.2 msec duration) to the left L7 spinal nerve in which the efferent axons had degenerated evoked action potentials (0.5 to 1 mV) in the left S1 spinal nerve distal to the anastomosis. In addition, increases in bladder pressure were elicited by trains of the stimuli (5 to 20 Hz, 5 seconds) applied to the L7 spinal nerve. Urodynamic studies including external sphincter EMG recording demonstrated that the new reflex pathway could initiate voiding without detrusor-external urethral sphincter dyssynergia. Atropine (0.05 mg./kg., i.v.) or trimethaphan (5 mg./kg., i.v.), a ganglionic blocking agent, depressed the bladder contractions elicited by skin stimulation. The skin-CNS-bladder reflex could also be elicited after transecting the spinal cord at the L2-L3 or L7-S1 levels.

CONCLUSION: The cross-wired somato-autonomic bladder reflex is effective in initiating bladder contractions and coordinated voiding in cats with an intact neuraxis and can also induce bladder contractions after acute transection of the lumbar spinal cord. The new pathway is mediated by cholinergic transmission involving both nicotinic and muscarinic receptors. It is concluded that somatic motor axons can innervate bladder parasympathetic ganglion cells and thereby transfer somatic reflex activity to the bladder smooth muscle.

PMID: 10458412

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