In this study, the mechanism involved in the initiation of voiding was investigated. Bladder pressure and bladder and urethral nerve activity were recorded in the anesthetized rat. Bladder nerve activity was resolved into afferent and efferent activity by means of a theoretical model. The beginning of an active bladder contraction was defined as the onset of bladder efferent firing at a certain time (t0). From t0 onward, bladder efferent activity increased linearly during deltat seconds (rise time) to a maximum. The pressure at t0 was 1.0 +/- 0.4 kPa, the afferent nerve activity at t0 was 2.0 +/- 0.6 microV (53 +/- 15% of maximum total nerve activity), and deltat was 11 +/- 13 s. Between contractions the afferent activity at t0 was never exceeded. Urethral afferent nerve activity started at bladder pressures of 2.1 +/- 1.1 kPa. Therefore, we concluded that urethral afferent nerve activity does not play a role in the initiation of bladder contractions; voiding contractions presumably are initiated by bladder afferent nerve activity exceeding a certain threshold.

Animals, Bladder/*innervation/physiology, Differential Threshold/physiology, Electrophysiology, Male, Models, Neurological, Muscle Contraction/physiology, Nervous System Physiology, Neurons, Afferent/physiology, Neurons, Efferent/*physiology, Pressure, Rats, Rats, Wistar, Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't, Urethra/*innervation, Urination/physiology
American Journal of Physiology (Consolidated)
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

van Asselt, E, le Feber, J, & van Mastrigt, R. (1999). Threshold for efferent bladder nerve firing in the rat. American Journal of Physiology (Consolidated), 1819–1824. Retrieved from