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Open Access Research article

Study of the response of the penile corporal tissue and cavernosus muscles to micturition

Ahmed Shafik1*, Ismail A Shafik1, Olfat El Sibai2 and Ali A Shafik1

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Surgery and Experimental Research, Faculty of Medicine, Cairo University, Cairo, Egypt

2 Department of Surgery, Faculty of Medicine, Menoufia University, Shebin El-Kom, Egypt

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BMC Urology 2008, 8:4  doi:10.1186/1471-2490-8-4

Published: 2 March 2008

Abstract

Background

The reaction of the corpora cavernosa (CC), the corpus spongiosum (CS), the bulbocavernosus (BCM) and ischiocavernosus (ICM) muscles to passage of urine through the urethra during micturition is not known. We investigated the hypothesis that the passage of urine through the urethra stimulates the corporal tissue and cavernosus muscles.

Methods

In 30 healthy men (mean age 42.8 ± 11.7 years), the electromyographic activity (EMG) of the CC, CS, BCM, and ICM were recorded before and during micturition, and on interruption of and straining during micturition. These tests were repeated after individual anesthetization of urethra, corporal tissue, and cavernosus muscles.

Results

During micturition, the slow wave variables (frequency, amplitude, conduction velocity) of the CC and CS decreased while the motor unit action potentials of the BCM and ICM increased; these EMG changes were mild and returned to the basal values on interruption or termination of micturition. Micturition after individual anesthetization of urethra, corporal tissue and cavernosal muscles did not effect significant EMG changes in these structures, while saline administration produced changes similar to those occurring before saline administration.

Conclusion

The decrease of sinusoidal and increase of cavernosus muscles' EMG activity during micturition apparently denotes sinusoidal relaxation and cavernosus muscles contraction. Sinusoidal muscle relaxation and cavernosus muscles contraction upon micturition are suggested to be mediated through a 'urethro-corporocavernosal reflex'. These sinusoidal and cavernosus muscle changes appear to produce a mild degree of penile tumescence and stretch which might assist in urinary flow during micturition.