Sophisticated regulation of micturition: review of basic neurourology

J Exerc Rehabil. 2021 Oct 26;17(5):295-307. doi: 10.12965/jer.2142594.297. eCollection 2021 Oct.


The neurological regulation of the lower urinary tract can be viewed separately from the perspective of sensory neurons and motor neurons. First, in the receptors of the bladder and urethra of sensory nerves, sensations are transmitted through the periaqueductal gray matter of the midbrain to the cerebral cortex, and the cerebrum goes through the process of decision-making. Motor neurons are divided into upper motor neurons (UMNs) and lower motor neurons (LMNs). UMNs coordinate storage and micturition in the brain stem so that synergic voiding can occur. LMNs facilitate muscle contractions in the spinal cord. The muscles involved in urinary storage and micturition are innervated by the somatic branches of sympathetic, parasympathetic, and peripheral nerves. Sympathetic nerves are responsible for contractions of urethral smooth muscles, while parasympathetic nerves originate from S2-S4 and are in charge of contractions of the bladder muscle. Somatic nerves originate from the motor neurons in Onuf's nucleus, which is a specific part of somatic nerves. In this review, we will investigate the structures of the nervous systems related to the lower urinary tract and the regulatory system of innervation for the urinary storage and micturition and discuss the clinical significance and future prospects of neurourological research.

Keywords: Lower urinary tract; Micturition center; Neurourology; Urinary storage.

Publication types

  • Review