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Detrusor smooth muscle (DSM) underactivity may lead to urinary retention (UR). Electroacupuncture (EA) at BL33 may be effective in improving DSM contractions.This study aimed to investigate: (1) the effect of EA at BL33; and (2) the effect of different manipulation methods at BL33 on the modulation of DSM contractions in UR rats.30 male Sprague-Dawley rats were anaesthetised with urethane and modelled by urethral outlet obstruction. First, 2 Hz EA at BL33, SP6 and LI4 wasrandomly applied to the UR rats for 5 min to observe the immediate effects (n=10); second, manual acupuncture (MA) (n=10) and 100 Hz EA (n=10) were applied with the same programme. DSM electromyography (EMG) and cystometrogram data were evaluated.(1) 2 Hz EA at BL33 and SP6 significantly increased DSM discharging frequency (0.80±0.10 Hz, P<0.001, and 0.22±0.14 Hz, P=0.038), shortened micturation intervals (65.67±20.65 s, P=0.008, and 35.62±15.84 s, P=0.042), prolonged the duration of voiding (2.13±0.61 s, P=0.005, and 0.47±0.16 s, P=0.015), and reduced residual pressure (−0.91±0.31 mmHg, P=0.019, and −0.66±0.27 mmHg, P=0.046). EA at LI4 was not associated with any functional effects (P>0.05). Compared with SP6, EA at BL33 had greater positive effects on DSM discharging frequency, duration of discharging, and duration of voiding (all P<0.05). (2) No statistically significant differences were shown between MA, 2 Hz EA and 100 Hz EA interventions when stimulating at BL33, SP6 or LI4.EA at BL33 improved DSM contractions to a greater degree than EA at SP6 or LI4. There were no differences in effect when stimulating using 2 Hz EA, 100 Hz EA and MA.