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Spinal cord stimulation ameliorates detrusor over-activity and visceromotor pain responses in rats with cystitis.

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Interstitial cystitis/painful bladder syndrome/(IC/PBS) results in recurring pain in the bladder and surrounding pelvic region caused by abnormal excitability of micturition reflexes. Spinal cord stimulation (SCS) is currently clinically used for the attenuation of neuropathic and visceral pain. The present study examined whether SCS at upper lumbar segments modulates detrusor overactivity and visceral hyperalgesia associated with cystitis in a rat model of cyclophosphamide (CYP)-induced cystitis.


Cystitis was induced by intraperitoneal injection of CYP (200 mg/kg) in six adult female Sprague Dawley rats 48 h prior to urodynamic recordings. Another six rats served as-controls with saline injection. Cystometry and the external urethral sphincter (EUS) electromyography during bladder infusion were evaluated under urethane anesthesia. The visceromotor reflexes (VMR) obtained from the external abdominal oblique muscle were quantified during bladder infusion and isotonic bladder distension (IBD), respectively. After baseline recordings were taken, SCS was applied on the dorsal surface of L3 for 25 min. Urodynamic recordings and VMR during bladder infusion and IBD were repeated 2 h after SCS.


CYP resulted in detrusor overactivity, stronger EUS tonic contractions, and increased VMR. SCS significantly reduced non-voiding contractions, prolonged EUS relaxation, and delayed VMR appearance during bladder infusion as well as significantly decreased VMR during IBD in cystitis rats.


SCS improved bladder function and EUS relaxation during bladder infusion and significantly attenuated visceral nociceptive-related VMR during IBD in cystitis rats. SCS may have therapeutic potential for patients with hyperalgesia and IC/PBS.

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