What are the origins and relevance of spontaneous bladder contractions? ICI-RS 2017

Marcus J Drake*, Christopher H Fry, Hikaru Hashitani, Ruth Kirschner-Hermanns, Mohammad S Rahnama'i, John E Speich, Hikaru Tomoe, Anthony J Kanai, Karen D McCloskey

*Corresponding author for this work

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

11 Citations (Scopus)
279 Downloads (Pure)


Introduction: Storage phase bladder activity is a counter-intuitive observation of spontaneous contractions. They are potentially an intrinsic feature of the smooth muscle, but interstitial cells in the mucosa and the detrusor itself, as well as other muscular elements in the mucosa may substantially influence them. They are identified in several models explaining lower urinary tract dysfunction. Methods: A consensus meeting at the International Consultation on Incontinence Research Society (ICI-RS) 2017 congress considered the origins and relevance of spontaneous bladder contractions by debating which cell type(s) modulate bladder spontaneous activity, whether the methodologies are sufficiently robust, and implications for healthy and abnormal lower urinary tract function. Results: The identified research priorities reflect a wide range of unknown aspects. Cellular contributions to spontaneous contractions in detrusor smooth muscle are still uncertain. Accordingly, insight into the cellular physiology of the bladder wall, particularly smooth muscle cells, interstitial cells, and urothelium, remains important. Upstream influences, such as innervation, endocrine, and paracrine factors, are particularly important. The cellular interactions represent the key understanding to derive the integrative physiology of organ function, notably the nature of signalling between mucosa and detrusor layers. Indeed, it is still not clear to what extent spontaneous contractions generated in isolated preparations mirror their normal and pathological counterparts in the intact bladder. Improved models of how spontaneous contractions influence pressure generation and sensory nerve function are also needed. Conclusions: Deriving approaches to robust evaluation of spontaneous contractions and their influences for experimental and clinical use could yield considerable progress in functional urology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S13-S19
Number of pages7
JournalNeurourology and Urodynamics
Early online date23 Jan 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2018

Structured keywords

  • Centre for Surgical Research


  • detrusor overactivity
  • LUTS
  • detrusor underactivity
  • overactive bladder
  • physiology


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