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IEEE Trans Neural Syst Rehabil Eng. 2008 Apr;16(2):140-8. doi: 10.1109/TNSRE.2007.914460.

Variable patterned pudendal nerve stimuli improves reflex bladder activation.

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  • 1Biomedical Engineering Department, Case Western Reserve University, and Louis Stokes Cleveland Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Cleveland, OH 44106, USA.


We evaluated variable patterns of pudendal nerve (PN) stimuli for reflex bladder excitation. Reflex activation of the bladder has been demonstrated previously with 20-33 Hz continuous stimulation of PN afferents. Neuronal circuits accessed by afferent mediated pathways may respond better to physiological patterned stimuli than continuous stimulation. Unilateral PN nerve cuffs were placed in neurologically intact male cats. PN stimulation (0.5-100 Hz) was performed under isovolumetric conditions at bladder volumes up to the occurrence of distension evoked reflex contractions. Stimulus evoked reflex bladder contractions were elicited in eight cats. Across all experiments, bursting of 2-10 pulses at 100-200 Hz repeated at continuous stimulation frequencies evoked significantly larger bladder responses than continuous (single pulse) stimulation (52.0+/-44.5%). Bladder excitation was also effective at 1 Hz continuous stimuli, which is lower than typically reported. Variable patterned pulse bursting resulted in greater evoked reflex bladder pressures and increased the potential stimulation parameter space for effective bladder excitation. Improved bladder excitation should increase the efficacy of neuroprostheses for bladder control.

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