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J Urol. 2012 Jan;187(1):338-43. doi: 10.1016/j.juro.2011.09.012. Epub 2011 Nov 17.

Post-stimulation inhibitory effect on reflex bladder activity induced by activation of somatic afferent nerves in the foot.

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  • 1Department of Urology, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15213, USA.



We determined whether transcutaneous electrical stimulation of somatic afferent nerves in the foot of cats would induce a post-stimulation increase in bladder capacity.


In 12 α-chloralose anesthetized cats electrical stimulation (5 Hz) was applied to the skin of the hind foot for 2, 30-minute periods via dual pad electrodes attached on the plantar and dorsal surfaces (combination 1 and 2) or at 2 sites on the plantar surface (combination 1 and 3). The post-stimulation effect was examined by repeat cystometrogram after 30-minute stimulation. In the control group of 12 cats isovolumetric contractions were allowed to continue during each 30-minute period without stimulation.


Stimulation inhibited isovolumetric rhythmic bladder contractions. Bladder capacity was not increased after the first 30-minute foot stimulation via electrodes 1 and 2 but it was significantly increased a mean ± SE of 47.5% ± 2.9% after the second 30-minute stimulation via electrodes 1 and 3. After inducing the post-stimulation effect the foot stimulation applied during cystometrograms via electrodes 1 and 2 or 1 and 3 elicited a further increase in bladder capacity (mean 23.26% ± 17.64% and 20.07% ± 18.59%, respectively).


Results show that the transcutaneous plantar electrical stimulation of somatic afferent nerves in the foot can induce a post-stimulation increase in bladder capacity, suggesting that an intermittent stimulation pattern rather than continuous stimulation might be effective as clinical application to treat overactive bladder symptoms.

Copyright © 2012 American Urological Association Education and Research, Inc. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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