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1.  Percutaneous Perineal Electrostimulation Induces Erection: Clinical Significance in Patients With Spinal Cord Injury and Erectile Dysfunction 
Approximately one third to one half of the penis is embedded in the pelvis and can be felt through the scrotum and in the perineum. The main arteries and nerves enter the penis through this perineal part of the penis, which seems to represent a highly sensitive area. We investigated the hypothesis that percutaneous perineal stimulation evokes erection in patients with neurogenic erectile dysfunction.
Percutaneous electrostimulation of the perineum (PESP) with synchronous intracorporeal pressure (ICP) recording was performed in 28 healthy volunteers (age 36.3 ± 7.4 y) and 18 patients (age 36.6 ± 6.8 y) with complete neurogenic erectile dysfunction (NED). Current was delivered in a sine wave summation fashion. Average maximal voltages and number of stimulations delivered per session were 15 to 18 volts and 15 to 25 stimulations, respectively.
PESP of healthy volunteers effected an ICP increase (P < 0.0001), which returned to the basal value upon stimulation cessation. The latent period recorded was 2.5 ± 0.2 seconds. Results were reproducible on repeated PESP in the same subject but with an increase of the latent period. Patients with NED recorded an ICP increase that was lower (P < 0.05) and a latent period that was longer (P < 0.0001) than those of healthy volunteers.
PESP effected ICP increase in the healthy volunteers and patients with NED. The ICP was significantly higher and latent period shorter in the healthy volunteers than in the NED patients. PESP may be of value in the treatment of patients with NED, provided that further studies are performed to reproduce these results.
PMCID: PMC2435023  PMID: 18533410
Spinal cord injuries; Electrostimulation; Penis; Impotence; Perineum; Neurogenic erectile dysfunction
2.  Effect of thermal cutaneous stimulation on the gastric motor activity: Study of the mechanism of action 
AIM: To investigate the mechanism of action of thermal cutaneous stimulation on the gastric motor inhibition.
METHODS: The gastric tone of 33 healthy volunteers (20 men, mean age 36.7 ± 8.4 years) was assessed by a barostat system consisting of a balloon-ended tube connected to a strain gauge and air-injection system. The tube was introduced into the stomach and the balloon was inflated with 300 mL of air. The skin temperature was elevated in increments of 3°C up to 49°C and the gastric tone was simultaneously assessed by recording the balloon volume variations expressed as the percentage change from the baseline volume. The test was repeated after separate anesthetization of the skin and stomach with lidocaine and after using normal saline instead of lidocaine.
RESULTS: Thermal cutaneous stimulation resulted in a significant decrease of gastric tone 61.2% ± 10.3% of the mean baseline volume. Mean latency was 25.6 ± 1.2 ms. After 20 min of individual anesthetization of the skin and stomach, thermal cutaneous stimulation produced no significant change in gastric tone.
CONCLUSION: Decrease in the gastric tone in response to thermal cutaneous stimulation suggests a reflex relationship which was absent on individual anesthetization of the 2 possible arms of the reflex arc: the skin and the stomach. We call this relationship the “cutaneo-gastric inhibitory reflex”. This reflex may have the potential to serve as an investigative tool in the diagnosis of gastric motor disorders, provided further studies are performed in this respect.
PMCID: PMC2703850  PMID: 18407599
Gastric tone; Barostat; Gastric disorders
3.  Study of the response of the penile corporal tissue and cavernosus muscles to micturition 
BMC Urology  2008;8:4.
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.
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.
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.
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.
PMCID: PMC2270861  PMID: 18312692
4.  On the pathogenesis of penile venous leakage: role of the tunica albuginea 
BMC Urology  2007;7:14.
Etiology of venogenic erectile dysfunction is not exactly known. Various pathologic processes were accused but none proved entirely satisfactory. These include presence of large venous channels draining corpora cavernosa, Peyronie's disease, diabetes and structural alterations in fibroblastic components of trabeculae and cavernous smooth muscles. We investigated hypothesis that tunica albuginea atrophy with a resulting subluxation and redundancy effects venous leakage during erection.
18 patients (mean age 33.6 ± 2.8 SD years) with venogenic erectile dysfunction and 17 volunteers for control (mean age 31.7 ± 2.2 SD years) were studied. Intracorporal pressure was recorded in all subjects; tunica albuginea biopsies were taken from 18 patients and 9 controls and stained with hematoxylin and eosin and Masson's trichrome stains.
In flaccid phase intracorporal pressure recorded a mean of 11.8 ± 0.8 cm H2O for control subjects and for patients of 5.2 ± 0.6 cm, while during induced erection recorded 98.4 ± 6.2 and 5.9 ± 0.7 cmH2O, respectively. Microscopically, tunica albuginea of controls consisted of circularly-oriented collagen impregnated with elastic fibers. Tunica albuginea of patients showed degenerative and atrophic changes of collagen fibers; elastic fibers were scarce or absent.
Study has shown that during erection intracorporal pressure of patients with venogenic erectile dysfunction was significantly lower than that of controls. Tunica albuginea collagen fibers exhibited degenerative and atrophic changes which presumably lead to tunica albuginea subluxation and floppiness. These tunica albuginea changes seem to explain cause of lowered intracorporal pressure which apparently results from loss of tunica albuginea veno-occlusive mechanism. Causes of tunica albuginea atrophic changes and subluxation need to be studied.
PMCID: PMC1995196  PMID: 17803807
5.  Duodeno-jejunal junction dyssynergia: Description of a novel syndrome 
AIM: To investigate the hypothesis that duodeno-jejunal dyssynergia existed at the duodeno-jejunal junction.
METHODS: Of 112 patients who complained of epigastric distension and discomfort after meals, we encountered nine patients in whom the duodeno-jejunal junction did not open on duodenal contraction. Seven healthy volunteers were included in the study. A condom which was inserted into the 1st duodenum was filled up to 10 mL with saline in increments of 2 mL and pressure response to duodenal distension was recorded from the duodenum, duodeno-jejunal junction and the jejunum.
RESULTS: In healthy volunteers, duodenal distension with 2 and 4 mL did not produce pressure changes, while 6 and up to 10 mL distension effected significant duodenal pressure increase, duodeno-jejunal junction pressure decrease but no jejunal pressure change. In patients, resting pressure and duodeno-jejunal junction and jejunal pressure response to 2 and 4 mL duodenal distension were similar to those of healthy volunteers. Six and up to 10 mL 1st duodenal distension produced significant duodenal and duodeno-jejunal junction pressure increase and no jejunal pressure change.
CONCLUSION: Duodeno-jejunal junction failed to open on duodenal contraction, a condition we call ‘duodeno-jejunal junction dyssynergia syndrome’ which probably leads to stagnation of chyme in the duodenum and explains patients' manifestations.
PMCID: PMC4205315  PMID: 17696232
Epigastric distension; Vomiting; Nausea; Dyspepsia; Chyme
6.  Effect of Rectal Distension on Vesical Motor Activity in Humans: The Identification of the Recto-Vesicourethral Reflex 
Rectal lesions have an effect on the urinary bladder and its sphincters. Patients with constipation sometimes complain of difficult micturition or of retention. Urinary retention may also occur after anorectal operations. We investigated the hypothesis that rectal distension affects vesical dilatation through a reflex action.
The study comprised 22 healthy volunteers (14 men, 8 women, age 42.3 ± 10.3 SD years). The rectum was distended by rectal balloon inflated with air in increments of 50 mL. The vesical and posterior urethral pressures were recorded before and after individual anesthetization of the rectum, bladder, and posterior urethra.
Fifty-milliliter rectal distension effected no vesicourethral pressure response (P > 0.05). At 100 and up to 300-mL distension, the vesical pressure decreased (P < 0.05), while the urethral pressure increased (P < 0.05). The response showed no significant difference upon increase of the distending volume. The mean latency was 16.8 ± 2.4 milliseconds. Vesicourethral pressure did not respond to rectal distension when the bladder, urethra, or rectum was individually anesthetized.
Rectal distension seems to induce diminished vesical, but increased urethral sphincter tone, an effect that is presumably mediated through a reflex that we call the “recto-vesicourethral reflex.” This reflex is apparently evoked at defecation to abort simultaneous micturition. The clinical significance of the reflex needs to be established.
PMCID: PMC2032007  PMID: 17385268
Rectum; Rectal physiology; Constipation; Urinary retention; Anorectal lesions; Urethral sphincter; Reflex; Defecation
7.  Functional activity of the rectum: A conduit organ or a storage organ or both? 
AIM: To investigate whether the degree of rectal distension could define the rectum functions as a conduit or reservoir.
METHODS: Response of the rectal and anal pressure to 2 types of rectal balloon distension, rapid voluminous and slow gradual distention, was recorded in 21 healthy volunteers (12 men, 9 women, age 41.7 ± 10.6 years). The test was repeated with sphincteric squeeze on urgent sensation.
RESULTS: Rapid voluminous rectal distension resulted in a significant rectal pressure increase (P < 0.001), an anal pressure decline (P < 0.05) and balloon expulsion. The subjects felt urgent sensation but did not feel the 1st rectal sensation. On urgent sensation, anal squeeze caused a significant rectal pressure decrease (P < 0.001) and urgency disappearance. Slow incremental rectal filling drew a rectometrogram with a “tone” limb representing a gradual rectal pressure increase during rectal filling, and an “evacuation limb” representing a sharp pressure increase during balloon expulsion. The curve recorded both the 1st rectal sensation and the urgent sensation.
CONCLUSION: The rectum has apparently two functions: transportation (conduit) and storage, both depending on the degree of rectal filling. If the fecal material received by the rectum is small, it is stored in the rectum until a big volume is reached that can affect a degree of rectal distension sufficient to initiate the defecation reflex. Large volume rectal distension evokes directly the rectoanal inhibitory reflex with a resulting defecation.
PMCID: PMC4125645  PMID: 16874870
Anal pressure; Rectal pressure; Rectometry; First rectal sensation
8.  The hypoactive corpora cavernosa with degenerative erectile dysfunction: a new syndrome 
BMC Urology  2006;6:13.
In a group of 22 patients with erectile dysfunction, vasculogenic, neurogenic, endocrinologic or psychogenic investigations failed to find a cause for their erectile dysfunction. The electro-cavernosograms of these patients recorded a diminished activity. We investigated the hypothesis that diminished corpus cavernosum electromyography activity was the cause of erectile dysfunction in these patients.
The study comprised the above mentioned 22 patients (study group, 43.8 ± 5.9 SD years) and 15 healthy volunteers (control group, 41.8 ± 5.1 SD years). The electro-cavernosograms were recorded in the flaccid, erectile and detumescent phases by 2 electrodes inserted into the corpus cavernosum.
The electro-cavernosogram of the healthy volunteers registered in the flaccid phase regular slow waves and random action potentials. The wave variables declined significantly in the erectile phase (p < 0.01). In the study group, the slow wave variables in the flaccid phase exhibited a significant decrease (p < 0.05) compared to the healthy volunteers, and the rhythm was irregular. Erection did not occur with sildenafil administration or intracavernosal papaverine injection, and penile implant was performed. Biopsy examination showed degenerated muscle fibers, and fragmented collagen and elastic fibers with areas of fibrosis.
A novel concept of the cause of erectile dysfunction was presented. Corpora cavernosa showed degenerative changes on histopathologic examination and exhibited diminished electromyography activity. They did not respond to sildenafil administration or intracavernosal papaverine injection. Penile implants were the only treatment. The condition is given the name 'hypoactive corpus cavernosum'. The cause of corpus cavernosum degenerative changes needs further study.
PMCID: PMC1523357  PMID: 16723018
9.  Effect of Micturition on the External Anal Sphincter: Identification of the Urethro–Anal Reflex 
A study on the response of the external anal sphincter (EAS) to the passage of urine through the urethra during micturition could not be found in the literature. We investigated the hypothesis that urine passage through the urethra effects EAS contraction to guard against possible flatus or stool leakage during micturition.
The study was performed in 23 healthy volunteers (age, 38.6 ± 10.8 [SD] years; 14 men and 9 women). The EAS electromyogram (EMG) was performed during micturition by surface electrodes applied to the EAS. Also, the EAS EMG response to urethral stimulation by a catheter-mounted electrode was registered. The test was repeated after individual anesthetization of the EAS and urethra.
The EAS EMG recorded a significant increase (P < 0.01) during micturition and on urethral stimulation at the bladder neck. Stimulation of the prostatic, membranous, or penile urethra produced no significant change in the EAS EMG. Urethral stimulation after individual EAS and urethral anesthetization did not cause any changes in the EAS EMG.
Urine passing through the urethra or urethral stimulation at the vesical neck produced an increase in the EAS EMG, which presumably denotes EAS contraction, which seems to guard against flatus or fecal leakage during micturition. EAS contraction on urethral stimulation is suggested to be mediated through a urethro–anal reflex. Further studies on this issue may potentially prove the diagnostic significance of this reflex in micturition and defecation disorders.
PMCID: PMC1808274  PMID: 16869089
Electromyography; Sphincter reflex; Flatus; Stools; Urethra; Defecation; Micturition
10.  Electroesophagogram in gastroesophageal reflux disease with a new theory on the pathogenesis of its electric changes 
BMC Surgery  2004;4:13.
In view of the disturbed esophageal peristaltic activity and abnormal esophageal motility in gastroesophageal reflux disease, (GERD), we investigated the hypothesis that these changes result from a disordered myoelectric activity of the esophagus.
The electric activity of the esophagus (electroesophagogram, EEG) was studied in 27 patients with GERD (16 men, 11 women, mean age 42.6 ± 5.2 years) and 10 healthy volunteers as controls (6 men, 4 women, mean age 41.4 ± 4.9 years). According to the Feussner scoring system, 7 patients had a mild (score 1), 10 a moderate (score 2) and 10 a severe (score 3) stage of the disease. One electrode was applied to the upper third and a second to the lower third of the esophagus, and the electric activity was recorded. The test was repeated after the upper electrode had been moved to the mid-esophagus.
The EEG of the healthy volunteers showed slow waves and exhibited the same frequency, amplitude and conduction velocity from the 2 electrodes of the individual subject, regardless of their location in the upper, middle or lower esophagus. Action potentials occurred randomly. In GERD patients, score 1 exhibited electric waves' variables similar to those of the healthy volunteers. In score 2, the waves recorded irregular rhythm and lower variables than the controls. Score 3 showed a "silent" EEG without waves.
The electric activity in GERD exhibited 3 different patterns depending on the stages of GERD. Score 1 exhibited a normal EEG which apparently denotes normal esophageal motility. Score 2 recorded irregular electric waves variables which are presumably indicative of decreased esophageal motility and reflux clearance. In score 3, a "silent" EEG was recorded with probably no acid clearance. It is postulated that the interstitial cells of Cajal which are the electric activity generators, are involved in the inflammatory process of GERD. Destruction of these cells appears to occur in grades that are in accordance with GERD scores. The EEG seems to have the potential to act as an investigative tool in the diagnosis of GERD stages.
PMCID: PMC526194  PMID: 15462680
Slow waves; action potentials; acid reflux; GERD; gastroesophageal reflux disease

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