Functional characteristics of lumbar visceral afferent fibres from the urinary bladder and the urethra in the cat

Pflugers Arch. 1986 Nov;407(5):510-8. doi: 10.1007/BF00657509.


Neural activity of lumbar visceral afferents supplying the urinary bladder and urethra was analyzed systematically in the cat. The afferent fibres were isolated either from the white rami L3 and L4 in a preparation with closed peritoneal cavity, or from the lumbar splanchnic nerves in a preparation with open peritoneal cavity and investigated for various functional parameters. Seventy five single units and 9 multiunit bundles were analyzed. About 50% of the afferent units had some ongoing activity (0.2 to 1 imp/s). Two thirds of the afferent axons were thin myelinated (conduction velocity 3-15 m/s), the rest were presumably unmyelinated (conduction velocity below 2 m/s). The receptive fields of the afferent units consisted - with one exception - of single mechanosensitive sites on the surface of the bladder and urethra. Most receptive fields were situated on the dorsal side of the bladder. Afferents with receptive fields on or in the bladder wall responded in a graded manner to passive distension and isovolumetric contraction at intravesical pressures ranging from about 10 to 70 mm Hg. The thresholds for exciting the afferent units ranged from less than 10 mm Hg to about 30 mm Hg intravesical pressure, most of them being less than 20 mm Hg. Generally, the discharge rate of the afferent units gave a reliable representation of the intravesical pressure to the lumbar spinal cord. Urethral units exhibited either no responses to the graded distensions and contractions of the urinary bladder, or responded with low discharge rates at higher intravesical pressures.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Axons / physiology
  • Cats
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Electrophysiology
  • Female
  • Male
  • Mechanoreceptors / physiology
  • Muscle Contraction
  • Neural Conduction
  • Neurons, Afferent / physiology*
  • Nociceptors / physiology
  • Physical Stimulation
  • Pressure
  • Spinal Cord / physiology
  • Splanchnic Nerves / physiology*
  • Urethra / innervation*
  • Urethra / physiology
  • Urinary Bladder / innervation*
  • Urinary Bladder / physiology
  • Urination