Phasic activation of the external urethral sphincter increases voiding efficiency in the rat and the cat

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Electrical stimulation of the pudendal nerve (PN) is a potential therapy for bladder dysfunction, but voiding efficiency (VE) produced by PN stimulation appears limited to 60–70%. We conducted experiments in rats and cats to investigate the hypothesis that introduction of artificial phasic bursting activity of the external urethral sphincter (EUS) would enhance VE under conditions where such activity was absent.

Materials and methods

Cystometry experiments were conducted in 17 urethane anesthetized female Sprague-Dawley rats and 4 α-chloralose anesthetized male cats. The effects of phasic stimulation of the pudendal motor branch on VE were quantified in intact conditions, following bilateral transection of the motor branch of the PN, and following subsequent bilateral transection of the sensory branch of the PN.


Artificial phasic bursting activity in the EUS generated by electrical stimulation of the motor branch of the PN increased VE in both rats and cats. Subsequent transection of the sensory branch of the PN abolished the increased VE elicited by phasic stimulation in both rats and cats.


Artificial phasic EUS bursting restored efficient voiding in rats. Introduction of artificial phasic bursting in cats, which normally exhibit EUS relaxation while voiding, was also effective in promoting efficient voiding. In both species phasic EUS activity increased voiding efficiency via activation of pudendal sensory pathways. These results provide further insight into the function of phasic EUS activity in efficient voiding and highlight a novel approach to increase VE generated by pudendal afferent nerve stimulation.

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