Hysteretic behavior of bladder afferent neurons in response to changes in bladder pressure

BMC Neurosci. 2016 Aug 12;17(1):57. doi: 10.1186/s12868-016-0292-5.


Background: Mechanosensitive afferents innervating the bladder increase their firing rate as the bladder fills and pressure rises. However, the relationship between afferent firing rates and intravesical pressure is not a simple linear one. Firing rate responses to pressure can differ depending on prior activity, demonstrating hysteresis in the system. Though this hysteresis has been commented on in published literature, it has not been quantified.

Results: Sixty-six bladder afferents recorded from sacral dorsal root ganglia in five alpha-chloralose anesthetized felines were identified based on their characteristic responses to pressure (correlation coefficient ≥ 0.2) during saline infusion (2 ml/min). For saline infusion trials, we calculated a maximum hysteresis ratio between the firing rate difference at each pressure and the overall firing rate range (or Hmax) of 0.86 ± 0.09 (mean ± standard deviation) and mean hysteresis ratio (or Hmean) of 0.52 ± 0.13 (n = 46 afferents). For isovolumetric trials in two experiments (n = 33 afferents) Hmax was 0.72 ± 0.14 and Hmean was 0.40 ± 0.14.

Conclusions: A comprehensive state model that integrates these hysteresis parameters to determine the bladder state may improve upon existing neuroprostheses for bladder control.

Keywords: Bladder; Bladder afferents; Bladder pressure; Dorsal root ganglia; Hysteresis; Pelvic nerve; Urinary tract.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials
  • Afferent Pathways / physiology
  • Anesthetics, Intravenous / pharmacology
  • Animals
  • Cats
  • Chloralose / pharmacology
  • Ganglia, Spinal / physiology
  • Male
  • Microelectrodes
  • Neurons, Afferent / physiology*
  • Physical Stimulation
  • Pressure*
  • Sacrum
  • Urinary Bladder / innervation*
  • Urinary Bladder / physiology*


  • Anesthetics, Intravenous
  • Chloralose