Parcellation of human periaqueductal gray at 7-T fMRI in full and empty bladder state: The foundation to study dynamic connectivity changes related to lower urinary tract functioning

M.M. de Rijk*, J. van den Hurk, M.S. Rahnama'i, G.A. van Koeveringe

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

3 Citations (Web of Science)


Aims The periaqueductal gray (PAG) is a brain stem area involved in processing signals related to urine storage and voiding. The PAG is proposed to be responsible for projecting afferent information from the bladder to cortical and subcortical brain areas and acts as a relay station projecting efferent information from cortical and subcortical areas to the pons and spinal cord. Here, we use 7-Tesla functional magnetic resonance imaging to parcellate the PAG into functionally distinct clusters during a bladder filling protocol.

Methods We assess the similarity between parcellation results in empty and full bladder states and show how these parcellations can be used to create dynamic response profiles of connectivity changes between clusters as a function of bladder sensations.

Results For each of our six healthy female participants, we found that the agreement between at least one of the clusters in both states resulting from the parcellation procedure was higher than could be expected based on chance (p

Conclusions This opens new possibilities to investigate the effects of treatments of lower urinary tract symptoms on signal processing in the PAG, as well as the investigation of disease-specific bladder filling related dynamic signal processing in this small brain structure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)616-623
Number of pages8
JournalNeurourology and Urodynamics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2021


  • bladder sensation
  • fmri
  • functional connectivity
  • micturition
  • neural-control
  • organization
  • pag
  • parcellation
  • region
  • urgency
  • fMRI
  • PAG

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