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Distribution and Morphology of Afferent and Efferent Neurons Innervating Urethra in Female Rats
The functions of the lower urinary tract (LUT), to store and periodically eliminate urine, are regulated by a complex neural control system located in the brainstem and spinal cord. Under normal conditions, the urinary bladder and outlet, consisting of bladder neck and external urethral sphincter (EUS) exhibit a reciprocal relationship. During urine storage, the bladder is quiescent and sphincter is active, whereas during micturition the detrusor contracts actively and sphincter is inhibited. For a full understanding of how the lower urinary tract works as a whole, functional entity, the urethral activity during micturition should never be neglected. We used fluorogold as a tracer to assess the distribution and morphology of neurons innervation different segments of urethra. This study has demonstrated that injection of fluorogold into either the proximal, middle or distal urethra in female rat can label neurons in the T12-L2, L5-S2, and MPG. The distribution of neurons in lanimae VII of L5-S2 for proximal urethra is significantly higher than middle or distal urethra. But in lanimae IX, percentage of neurons innervated proximal urethra is significantly lesser than that of middle and distal urethra. This result indicated that proximal urethra controlled by parasympathethic and somatic neurons, while middle and distal urethra controlled by somatic neurons. Since positive neuron number in laminae VII of T12-L2 for middle urethra is far lesser than proximal and distal segment suspect inference that the lower sympathetic fiber of controlling middle urethra is lesser important than that of proximal and distal urethra. These data suggest that proximal urethra regulated by sympathetic, parasympathetic and somatic neurons; middle urethra controlled by somatic neurons; distal urethra regulated by sympathetic and somatic neurons.
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