Differentiation and interaction of tibial versus spinal nerve stimulation for micturition control in the rat


  • Dirk De Ridder led the peer-review process as the Associate Editor responsible for the paper.



To determine time course of the bladder inhibitory response to unilateral or bilateral stimulation of the tibial nerve (TN) and spinal nerve (SN) as well as the interaction of stimulation at these two sites.


In anesthetized female rats, a wire electrode was placed under either one or both of the TN or L6 SN. A cannula was placed into the bladder via the urethra. Saline infusion induced bladder rhythmic contraction (BRC).


Compared to SN neuromodulation, TN neuromodulation is less efficacious. The first 5-min stimulation at three times motor threshold on the SN and TN decreased the BRC frequency to 9% and 69% of controls, respectively. In contrast to SN stimulation, bilateral TN neuromodulation is not more effective than unilateral and sustained TN stimulation results in an apparent desensitization of the bladder response. If a 15-min TN stimulation was applied, BRCs were shutdown only during the first 5 min of stimulation. If a 5-min stimulation, using sufficient current to abolish BRC, is repeated, at least 20 min between stimulations was required in order for the responses to the first and second stimulations to be equivalent. Finally, stimulation of the TN combined with SN never produced a significantly greater effect than TN or SN stimulation alone.


Based on the current experiments, it would appear that SN neuromodulation of bladder activity is preferable to TN stimulation and there is no evidence to suggest that stimulation at both sites would offer a therapeutic advantage over spinal stimulation alone. Neurourol. Urodynam. 34:92–97, 2015. © 2013 The Authors. Neurourology & Urodynamics published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc.