Genitourinary dysfunction in male rats after bilateral neurectomy of the motor branch of the sacral plexus


  • Conflict of interest: none.

  • Karl-Erik Andersson led the peer-review process as the Associate Editor responsible for the paper.



To determine the contribution of the striated musculature anatomically related to the urethra on urinary continence in conscious male rats. We tested whether the bilateral neurectomy of the motor branch of the sacral plexus (MBSP), a nerve that innervates the bulbospongiosus, ischiocavernosus, and external urethral sphincter, is a reliable procedure to induce changes in voiding pattern that can be used as indicators of urinary incontinence in unanesthetized male rats.


Micturition behavior was videotaped and urinary parameters measured 24 h before and at day 2 and 10 after surgery.


Intact animals have a stereotyped behavior of micturition consisting in urination in the corner of the cage. Neurectomized animals lost place preference for voiding demonstrated by leakage of urine throughout the cage while eating, walking, or sleeping. Voiding frequency was double and voiding duration was triple the amount before surgery. Urine flow rate and voiding volume were also significantly decreased. Necropsy showed that 10 days post-denervation semen material was accumulated in the urethra and in the bladder.


In male rats the perineal striated muscles are crucial to maintaining normal urinary continence, preventing retrograde ejaculation, and to expelling urine and seminal secretions. Bilateral neurectomy of the MBSP may not be appropriate for long term survival urinary studies because effects on urinary parameters can be contaminated and/or masked by impaired seminal fluid expulsion, as a consequence of impairment of striated urethral muscle function. Neurourol. Urodynam. 31:1288–1293, 2012. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.