Follow On Funding Project

Pelvic Nerve Stimulation to Control Urinary Incontinence

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  • Principal Investigator

    University of Bristol

  • Co-Investigators

    University of Aarhus, Denmark

Summary

With preliminary funding from IMPRESS the research team at Bristol University showed in urethane-anaesthetised rats that high frequency stimulation of the pelvic nerve could block urinary voiding that was induced every few minutes by continuous infusion of saline in the bladder.

This follow on project takes the work to the next stage, adopting a model that more closely resembles humans. The pig is ideal in this respect.

Initially study under terminal anaesthesia will be completed to replicate the findings in rats before moving to the pig model. The study will investigate the effectiveness of high frequency pelvic nerve stimulation on voiding activity evoked by infusion of saline into the bladder.  The work will be conducted in collaboration with urological colleagues in the Department of Clinical Medicine, University of Aarhus, Denmark who have expertise in pig work.

This Follow-on project has 3 aims:

1. To make a detailed characterisation of the optimal stimulation protocol for inhibiting voiding, to test for potential adverse side effects of pelvic nerve stimulation and to identify of the best type of electrode for stimulation. This work would prepare the way for translating the results obtained under terminal anaesthesia to a conscious rat model in which stimulation could be performed intermittently over a period of weeks.

2. Translation to conscious rats. Using the information obtained from the first aim the effect of pelvic nerve to stimulation to inhibit voiding in conscious rats with chronically implanted electrodes will be investigated.

3. The final stage is to develop an animal model that more closely resembles humans compared to the rat. This study in pigs under terminal anaesthesia aims to replicate the initial findings in rats and will investigate the effectiveness of high frequency pelvic nerve stimulation on voiding activity evoked by infusion of saline into the bladder. This work would be carried out in collaboration with urological colleagues in the Department of Clinical Medicine, University of Aarhus, Denmark who have expertise in pig work.

Incontinence Management & PRevention through Engineering and ScienceS