Neuronal Activation in the Periaqueductal Gray Matter Upon Electrical Stimulation of the Bladder

Celine Meriaux*, Ramona Hohnen, Sandra Schipper, Aryo Zare, Ali Jahanshahi, Lori A. Birder, Yasin Temel, Gommert A. van Koeveringe

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

6 Citations (Web of Science)

Abstract

Reflexes, that involve the spinobulbospinal pathway control both storage and voiding of urine. The periaqueductal gray matter (PAG), a pontine structure is part of the micturition pathway. Alteration in this pathway could lead to micturition disorders and urinary incontinence, such as the overactive bladder symptom complex (OABS). Although different therapeutic options exist for the management of OABS, these are either not effective in all patients. Part of the pathology of OABS is faulty sensory signaling about the filling status of the urinary bladder, which results in aberrant efferent signaling leading to overt detrusor contractions and the sensation of urgency and frequent voiding. In order to identify novel targets for therapy (i.e., structures in the central nervous system) and explore novel treatment modalities such as neuromodulation, we aimed at investigating which areas in the central nervous system are functionally activated upon sensory afferent stimulation of the bladder. Hence, we designed a robust protocol with multiple readout parameters including immunohistological and behavioral parameters during electrical stimulation of the rat urinary bladder. Bladder stimulation induced by electrical stimulation, below the voiding threshold, influences neural activity in: (1) the caudal ventrolateral PAG, close to the aqueduct; (2) the pontine micturition center and locus coeruleus; and (3) the superficial layers of the dorsal horn, sacral parasympathetic nucleus and central canal region of the spinal cord. In stimulated animals, a higher voiding frequency was observed but was not accompanied by increase in anxiety level and locomotor deficits. Taken together, this work establishes a critical role for the vlPAG in the processing of sensory information from the urinary bladder and urges future studies to investigate the potential of neuromodulatory approaches for urological diseases.
Original languageEnglish
Article number133
Number of pages18
JournalFrontiers in Cellular Neuroscience
Volume12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 18 May 2018

Keywords

  • periaqueductal gray
  • bladder
  • sensory
  • brain-bladder
  • lower urinary tract symptoms
  • LOWER URINARY-TRACT
  • C-FOS EXPRESSION
  • PONTINE MICTURITION CENTER
  • LOCUS-COERULEUS NEURONS
  • DEEP BRAIN-STIMULATION
  • PLACEBO-CONTROLLED TRIAL
  • OVERACTIVE BLADDER
  • NEURAL-CONTROL
  • SACRAL NEUROMODULATION
  • DETRUSOR OVERACTIVITY

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