Phasic non-micturition contractions in the bladder of the anaesthetized and awake rat

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Abstract

OBJECTIVE

To characterize the contractile activity that occurs in the bladder during the filling phase of the micturition cycle (non-micturition contractions, NMCs), which generate transient rises in intravesical pressure not associated with urine flow.

MATERIALS AND METHODS

The experiments were conducted using anaesthetized (chloral hydrate) and un-anaesthetized rats. In un-anaesthetized rats bladder contractile activity was measured using an intravesical cannula implanted under full surgical anaesthesia 3 days previously. In the anaesthetized rats the bladder was exteriorized and a cannula inserted through the dome. In these experiments electrical activity within the detrusor was also measured with a suction electrode on the bladder surface. For each rat, the experimental protocol involved filling the bladder at a constant rate (10 mL/h) to evoke micturition cycles, or infusion of a fixed volume and recording made under effective isovolumetric conditions.

RESULTS

In both anaesthetized and un-anaesthetized rats there were transient rises in bladder pressure (0.5–3 cmH2O). In the anaesthetized rats the amplitude of the transients increased throughout the filling phase, with little change in frequency. The phasic NMCs generating these pressure transients were accompanied by electrical changes in the detrusor. In the middle phase of bladder filling the slow pressure changes were accompanied by slow waves of electrical activity which changed in the pressure cycles immediately before micturition to high-frequency low-amplitude signals. In the un-anaesthetized rats there was a period immediately after voiding where there was no activity. As filling proceeded, low-amplitude low-frequency NMCs appeared that gradually increased in frequency and amplitude during the filling phase. However, the frequency of the transients decreased immediately before micturition despite an increase in amplitude. Similar responses were seen during isovolumetric recording.

CONCLUSION

The present results show the presence of NMCs in the rat bladder, identify volume-dependent changes in the pattern of this activity during the micturition cycle, and show that NMCs are accompanied by electrical changes in the detrusor. The physiological significance of NMCs is not known but it might be linked to the generation of afferent discharge from mechanoreceptors in the wall, so contributing to sensations related to bladder volume.

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