Comparison of Bladder Inhibitory Effects of Patterned Spinal Nerve Stimulation With Conventional Neuromodulation in the Rat

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The present study compared the effectiveness of patterned frequency of spinal nerve stimulation (SNS) with continuous, fixed-frequency nerve stimulation in an animal model of the bladder reflex contraction (BRC).

Materials and Methods

In anesthetized female rats, wire electrodes were placed under each of the L6 spinal nerve to produce bilateral SNS. A cannula was placed into the bladder via the urethra, and the urethra was ligated to ensure an isovolumetric bladder.


Using motor threshold intensity, continuous stimulation at fixed frequencies of 4 Hz (n = 5) and 10 Hz (n = 7) decreased the frequency of BRC of 71 ± 24% (mean, SEM) and 85 ± 18% of controls, respectively (vs. no stimulation, n = 10, p < 0.05, two-way analysis of variance [ANOVA]). Fixed-frequency stimulation at 0.01, 0.1, 1, 40, and 100 Hz, did not demonstrate a trend change on BRC. When stimulation frequency is delivered with a 4–6 pulse/burst pattern every 1–100 sec, neuromodulation has demonstrated a trend toward effectiveness, with a four-pulse 40 Hz burst stimulation per second showing the most difference, reducing the BRC frequency of 74 ± 8% of control (n = 8, p < 0.05, two-way ANOVA). However, it is not more effective than continuous neuromodulation at a fixed frequency of 4 Hz or 10 Hz at BRC inhibition.


Burst stimulations may inhibit bladder contractions; however, they are not more effective than continuous neuromodulation. Without further knowledge regarding mechanisms and potential benefit of burst stimulation on bladder control in patients with neuropathological conditions, applications should utilize continuous fixed 10 Hz stimulation for maximal clinical outcomes.

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