Stimulation of the sensory pudendal nerve increases bladder capacity in the rat

Am J Physiol Renal Physiol. 2018 Apr 1;314(4):F543-F550. doi: 10.1152/ajprenal.00373.2017. Epub 2017 Nov 15.


Pudendal nerve stimulation is a promising treatment approach for lower urinary tract dysfunction, including symptoms of overactive bladder. Despite some promising clinical studies, there remain many unknowns as to how best to stimulate the pudendal nerve to maximize therapeutic efficacy. We quantified changes in bladder capacity and voiding efficiency during single-fill cystometry in response to electrical stimulation of the sensory branch of the pudendal nerve in urethane-anesthetized female Wistar rats. Increases in bladder capacity were dependent on both stimulation amplitude and rate. Stimulation that produced increases in bladder capacity also led to reductions in voiding efficiency. Also, there was a stimulation carryover effect, and increases in bladder capacity persisted during several nonstimulated trials following stimulated trials. Intravesically administered PGE2 reduced bladder capacity, producing a model of overactive bladder (OAB), and sensory pudendal nerve stimulation again increased bladder capacity but also reduced voiding efficiency. This study serves as a basis for future studies that seek to maximize the therapeutic efficacy of sensory pudendal nerve stimulation for the symptoms of OAB.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Dinoprostone
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Electric Stimulation Therapy / methods*
  • Female
  • Pudendal Nerve / physiopathology*
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Urinary Bladder / innervation*
  • Urinary Bladder, Overactive / chemically induced
  • Urinary Bladder, Overactive / physiopathology
  • Urinary Bladder, Overactive / therapy*
  • Urodynamics*


  • Dinoprostone