OAB supraspinal control network, transition with age, and effect of treatment: A systematic review

Neurourol Urodyn. 2022 Aug;41(6):1224-1239. doi: 10.1002/nau.24953. Epub 2022 May 10.


Objective: In light of a better understanding of supraspinal control of nonneurogenic overactive bladder (OAB), the prevalence of which increases with age, functional imaging has gained significant momentum. The objective of this study was to perform a systematic review on the transition of supraspinal control of OAB with age, the effect of therapeutic modalities, and a coordinate-based meta-analysis of all neuroimaging evidence on supraspinal OAB control in response to bladder filling.

Methodology: We performed a systematic literature search of all relevant libraries in November 2021. The coordinates of brain activity were extracted from eligible neuroimaging studies to perform an activation likelihood estimation (ALE) meta-analysis.

Results: A total of 16 studies out of 241 were selected for our systematic review. Coordinates were extracted from five experiments involving 70 patients. ALE meta-analysis showed activation of the insula, supplementary motor area, dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, anterior cingulate gyrus, and temporal gyrus with a transition of activation patterns with age, using a threshold of uncorrected p < 0.001. Among young patients, neuroplasticity allows the activation of accessory circuits to maintain continence, as in the cerebellum and temporoparietal lobes. Anticholinergics, pelvic floor muscle training, sacral neuromodulation, and hypnotherapy are correlated with supraspinal changes attributed to adaptability and possibly a substratum of an intrinsic supraspinal component. The latter is better demonstrated by a resting-state functional connectivity analysis, a promising tool to phenotype OAB with recent successful models of predicting severity and response to behavioral treatments.

Conclusion: Future neuroimaging studies are necessary to better define an OAB neurosignature to allocate patients to successful treatments.

Keywords: ALE meta-analysis; bladder-brain control network; neuroimaging; overactive bladder; supraspinal control.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Brain
  • Cholinergic Antagonists
  • Humans
  • Neuroimaging
  • Urinary Bladder / diagnostic imaging
  • Urinary Bladder, Overactive* / diagnostic imaging
  • Urinary Bladder, Overactive* / therapy


  • Cholinergic Antagonists