Neural control of the lower urinary tract: peripheral and spinal mechanisms

Neurourol Urodyn. 2010;29(1):128-39. doi: 10.1002/nau.20837.


This review deals with individual components regulating the neural control of the urinary bladder. This article will focus on factors and processes involved in the two modes of operation of the bladder: storage and elimination. Topics included in this review include: (1) The urothelium and its roles in sensor and transducer functions including interactions with other cell types within the bladder wall ("sensory web"), (2) The location and properties of bladder afferents including factors involved in regulating afferent sensitization, (3) The neural control of the pelvic floor muscle and pharmacology of urethral and anal sphincters (focusing on monoamine pathways), (4) Efferent pathways to the urinary bladder, and (5) Abnormalities in bladder function including mechanisms underlying comorbid disorders associated with bladder pain syndrome and incontinence.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Afferent Pathways / physiopathology
  • Anal Canal / innervation
  • Animals
  • Cystitis, Interstitial / metabolism
  • Cystitis, Interstitial / physiopathology*
  • Efferent Pathways / physiopathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mechanotransduction, Cellular*
  • Nerve Growth Factor / metabolism
  • Pelvic Floor / innervation
  • Peripheral Nervous System / metabolism
  • Peripheral Nervous System / physiopathology*
  • Sensation*
  • Sodium Channels / metabolism
  • Spinal Nerves / metabolism
  • Spinal Nerves / physiopathology*
  • Urethra / innervation
  • Urinary Bladder / innervation*
  • Urinary Incontinence / metabolism
  • Urinary Incontinence / physiopathology*
  • Urothelium / innervation
  • Urothelium / metabolism


  • Sodium Channels
  • Nerve Growth Factor