Flexor reflex control of the external sphincter of the urethra in paraplegia

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  11 Jun 1982:
Vol. 216, Issue 4551, pp. 1243-1245
DOI: 10.1126/science.7200635


In paraplegics and quadriplegics a profound paralysis of skeletal muscles occurs below the level of the spinal lesion. Unexplained in this state is the development of an overactive external urethral sphincter, which interferes with emptying of the bladder and may lead to infection of the urinary tract. Studies of cats show that the discharge of motoneurons causing this contraction has all the characteristics of a flexor reflex.