Objective: Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are a prime public health challenge with a high incidence of mortality, and also reflect severe economic impacts. One of their severe symptoms is bladder dysfunction. Conventional therapeutic methods are not effective in managing bladder dysfunction. Henceforth, a research endeavor was attempted to explore a new therapeutic approach for bladder dysfunction through deep brain stimulation (DBS) procedures in a TBI animal model. Methods: TBI in this animal model was induced by the weight-drop method. All rats with an induced TBI were housed for 4 weeks to allow severe bladder dysfunction to develop. Subsequently, an initial urodynamic measurement, the simultaneous recording of cystometric (CMG) and external urethral sphincter electromyography (EUS-EMG) activity was conducted to evaluate bladder function. Further, standard DBS procedures with varying electrical stimulation parameters were executed in the target area of the pedunculopontine tegmental nucleus (PPTg). Simultaneously, urodynamic measurements were re-established to compare the effects of DBS interventions on bladder functions. Results: From the variable combinations of electrical stimulation, DBS at 50 Hz and 2.0 V, significantly reverted the voiding efficiency from 39% to 69% in TBI rats. Furthermore, MRI studies revealed the precise localization of the DBS electrode in the target area. Conclusions: The results we obtained showed an insightful understanding of PPTg-DBS and its therapeutic applications in alleviating bladder dysfunction in rats with a TBI. Hence, the present study suggests that PPTg-DBS is an effective therapeutic strategy for treating bladder dysfunction.
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