What is the role of the spinal cord play in the neuroanatomy of neurogenic bladder?

Updated: Dec 06, 2018
  • Author: Bradley C Gill, MD, MS; Chief Editor: Edward David Kim, MD, FACS  more...
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Answer

Answer

The spinal cord extends from the brainstem down to the lumbosacral spine. It is located in the spinal canal and is protected by the cerebrospinal fluid, meninges, and vertebral column. The spinal cord functions as a long communication pathway between the brainstem and the sacral spinal cord. When the sacral cord receives the sensory information from the bladder, this signal travels up the spinal cord to the pons and then ultimately to higher brain centers. The brain interprets this signal and sends a reply via the pons that travels down the spinal cord to the sacral cord and, subsequently, to the bladder. This 'reply' signal, part of the voiding reflex, can be suppressed by the periaqueductal gray matter inhibiting the pons. 

In the normal cycle of bladder filling and emptying, the spinal cord acts as an important intermediary between the pons and the sacral cord. An intact spinal cord is critical for normal micturition.


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