Effects of subthalamic nucleus stimulation on the micturation reflex in cats

Neuroscience. 2003;120(3):871-5. doi: 10.1016/s0306-4522(03)00319-1.


High frequency stimulation (HFS) of the subthalamic nucleus (STN) has been performed to reverse motor dysfunction in severe parkinsonian patients. Recent studies suggested that neural circuitry in the basal ganglia might regulate micturition function as well. In 15 adult male cats under ketamine anesthesia, in which spontaneous isovolumetric micturition reflex had been generated, we performed electrical stimulation and extracellular single unit recording in the STN. Electrical stimulation applied in the STN elicited inhibition of the micturition reflex. None of the responses was facilitatory. Effective amplitude of the electrical stimulation for evoking inhibitory responses was less than 50 microA, which gradually increased and exceeded 250 microA as the location of the stimulation exceeded an area of the STN. Effective frequency of the electrical stimulation with given stimulus intensity was 50 Hz and higher. Total 10 neurons were recorded in the STN that were related to urinary storage/micturition cycles. All neurons were tonically active throughout storage/micturition cycles with storage phase predominance, with almost constant firing activities during the storage phase. In conclusion, our results showed that HFS-STN inhibited the micturition reflex and there were micturition-related neuronal firings in the STN in cats, suggesting the STN may be involved in neural control of micturition. The results also provide an implication that clinical HFS-STN may alter urinary function in parkinsonian patients.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cats
  • Electric Stimulation Therapy
  • Electric Stimulation*
  • Electrophysiology
  • Male
  • Reflex / physiology*
  • Subthalamic Nucleus / physiology*
  • Subthalamic Nucleus / physiopathology
  • Urination / physiology*
  • Urination Disorders / physiopathology
  • Urination Disorders / therapy