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Brain Res. 2003 Mar 7;965(1-2):146-54.

Firing of micturition center neurons in the rat mesopontine tegmentum during urinary bladder contraction.

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  • 1Department of Physiology, Fukushima Medical University School of Medicine, 1 Hikari-ga-oka, Fukushima 960-1295, Japan.


Micturition is controlled by a network of brainstem neurons involving the Barrington's nucleus. To depict clearly the brainstem system for micturition control, the present study was designed to record single neuronal activity in the mesopontine tegmentum including the Barrington's nucleus, and to observe its precise timing in relation to bladder contraction recorded simultaneously. About 1/5 of neurons encountered had firing modulated in relation to bladder contraction. Three types of neurons were distinguished; those which fired only prior to the start of contraction (type E1), those whose firing started shortly prior to and was maintained during contraction (type E2), and those whose firing was strongly suppressed during contraction (type I). Type E2 neurons were most frequently observed in the Barrington's nucleus and its close vicinity, while the neurons of the other two types were scattered widely in the mesopontine tegmentum. The results show clearly that direct neural signals to induce bladder contraction may arise from the Barrington's nucleus, and that the nucleus may receive regulatory inputs from wide areas of the mesopontine tegmentum. In addition, the present study clarified that the noradrenergic and cholinergic neurons, which are located in nuclei adjoining the Barrington's nucleus and function to control sleep/wakefulness, may not be concerned in controlling micturition directly.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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