Pudendal nerve stretch reduces external urethral sphincter activity in rats

Kamran P. Sajadi, Dan L. Lin, James E. Steward, Brian Balog, Charuspong Dissaranan, Paul Zaszczurynski, Bradley C. Gill, Hai Hong Jiang, James M. Kerns, Margot S. Damaser

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Purpose: Most animal models of stress urinary incontinence simulate maternal injuries of childbirth since delivery is a major risk factor but they do not reproduce the nerve stretch known to occur during human childbirth. We hypothesized that pudendal nerve stretch produces reversible dysfunction of the external urethral sphincter. Materials and Methods: Female virgin Sprague-Dawley® rats were anesthetized with urethane. Bilateral pudendal nerve stretch or sham injury was performed for 5 minutes. External urethral sphincter electromyography and leak point pressure were recorded immediately before and after, and 10, 30, 60 and 120 minutes after pudendal nerve stretch. Post-pudendal nerve stretch results were compared to prestretch values and to values in sham injured animals. The pudendal nerves underwent qualitative histological assessment. The nucleus of Onuf was evaluated by immunohistochemistry and polymerase chain reaction for β-APP and c-Fos expression as markers of neuronal activity and injury. Results: A total of 14 rats underwent bilateral pudendal nerve stretch (9) or sham injury (5). Each nerve was stretched a mean ± SEM of 74% ± 18% on the left side and 63% ± 13% on the right side. Electromyography amplitude decreased significantly immediately after stretch compared to before stretch and after sham injury (p = 0.003) but it recovered by 30 minutes after stretch. There was no significant change in leak point pressure at any time. Two hours after injury histology showed occasional neuronal degeneration. β-APP and c-Fos expression was similar in the 2 groups. Conclusions: Acute pudendal nerve stretch produces reversible electrophysiological dysfunction but without leak point pressure impairment. Pudendal nerve stretch shows promise in modeling injury. It should be tested as part of a multi-injury, chronic, physiological model of human childbirth injury.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1389-1395
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Urology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2012


  • animal
  • disease models
  • electromyography
  • pudendal nerve
  • stress
  • urethra
  • urinary incontinence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Urology


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