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      Bladder outlet physiology in the context of lower urinary tract dysfunction.

      Neurourology and Urodynamics
      Afferent Pathways, physiopathology, Animals, Biomedical Research, Female, Humans, Male, Models, Animal, Urinary Bladder, innervation, Urination, Urodynamics, Urologic Diseases

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          Physiological function of the bladder outlet is complex and symptomatic consequences can result from outlet dysfunction. Within the outlet, smooth, and skeletal muscles constitute the contractile apparatus, but additional cell types include interstitial cells and neuroendocrine cells, and various transmitters are present in the innervation, raising the possibility of unrecognized functional subtleties. Key outlet functions are; maintained closure for urine storage, increased closure (guarding) during exertion, sustained opening for voiding, transient opening for territorial marking in animals and orthograde male ejaculation. These are co-ordinated by several spinal and higher CNS centers, with overlap of the somatic, sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems. During voiding, urethral afferents may be important in maintaining detrusor contraction until completion of bladder emptying. Some of the bladder outlet afferents may be shared with the anal sphincter. Dysfunction of the outlet leads to conditions such as retrograde ejaculation, Fowler's syndrome, and detrusor sphincter dyssynergia. Urethral relaxation during urine storage may lead to urinary urgency, which may be misleadingly labeled as overactive bladder. Research priorities are numerous, including; peripheral cellular integrative physiology, interactions with other pelvic organs, interconnectivity of the CNS centers at all levels of the neuraxis, and standardized animal models of outlet functions such as reflex-driven voiding. Copyright © 2011 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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