Suppression of Urinary Voiding “on Demand” by High-Frequency Stimulation of the S1 Sacral Nerve Root in Anesthetized Rats

Charly B.J. Brouillard, Jonathan J. Crook, Thelma A. Lovick*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
41 Downloads (Pure)


Objectives: High-frequency (kHz) stimulation of preganglionic pelvic nerve afferents can inhibit voiding in both anesthetized and conscious rats. The afferents travel via the S1 sacral nerve root, which is easier to access than the distal pelvic nerve fibers within the abdominal cavity. We therefore investigated whether voiding could be inhibited by high-frequency stimulation at S1 and how this compared to distal pelvic nerve stimulation. Methods: Urethane-anesthetized rats were instrumented to record bladder pressure and abdominal wall electromyogram and to stimulate the distal preganglionic pelvic nerve bundle and S1 sacral root. Saline was infused continuously into the bladder to evoke repeated voiding. Stimulation was initiated within 1–2 sec of the onset of the steep rise in bladder pressure signaling an imminent void. Results: In six rats, stimulation of the distal pelvic nerve bundle (1‑3 kHz sinusoidal waveform 1 mA, 60 sec) supressed the occurrence of an imminent void. Voiding resumed within 70 ± 13.0 sec (mean ± SEM) of stopping stimulation. Stimulation (using the same parameters) of the S1 root at the level of the sacral foramen suppressed voiding for the entire stimulation period in three rats and deferred voiding for 35–56 sec (mean 44.0 ± 3.2 sec) in the remaining three. Stimulation at either site when the bladder was approximately half full, as estimated from previous intervoid intervals, had no effect on voiding. Conclusions: This preliminary study provides proof-of-concept for the sacral root as an accessible target for high-frequency stimulation that may be developed as an “on demand” neuromodulation paradigm to suppress unwanted urinary voids. Conflict of Interest: The authors reported no conflict of interest.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 20 Feb 2019


  • High-frequency stimulation
  • pelvic nerve
  • rat
  • sacral nerve
  • urinary voiding

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