Objective To evaluate the feasibility of deep brain stimulation (DBS) and compare the potential of four DBS targets in rats for regulating bladder activity: the periaqueductal gray (PAG), locus coeruleus (LC), rostral pontine reticular nucleus (PnO), and pedunculopontine tegmental nucleus (PPTg). Methods A bipolar stimulating electrode was implanted. The effects of DBS on the inhibition and activation of micturition reflexes were investigated by using isovolumetric intravesical pressure recordings. Results PAG DBS at 2–2.5 V, PnO DBS at 2–2.5 V, and PPTg DBS at 1.75–2.5 V nearly completely inhibited reflexive isovolumetric bladder contractions. By contrast, LC DBS at 1.75 and 2 V slightly augmented reflexive isovolumetric bladder contractions in rats. DBSs on PnO and PPTg at higher intensities (2.5–5 V) demonstrated a higher success rate and larger contraction area evocation in activating bladder contractions in a partially filled bladder. DBS targeting the PPTg was most efficient in suppressing reflexive isovolumetric bladder contractions. Conclusion PPTg DBS demonstrated stable results and high potency for controlling bladder contractions. PPTg might be a promising DBS target for developing new neuromodulatory approaches for the treatment of bladder dysfunctions. Significance DBS could be a potential approach to manage bladder function under various conditions.
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