Electrical stimulation for neuroregeneration in urology: a new therapeutic paradigm

Brian M. Balog, Kangli Deng, Vinod Labhasetwar, Kathryn J. Jones, Margot S. Damaser

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Purpose of reviewThe present review highlights regenerative electrical stimulation (RES) as potential future treatment options for patients with nerve injuries leading to urological dysfunction, such as urinary incontinence, voiding dysfunction or erectile dysfunction. Additionally, it will highlight the mechanism of nerve injury and regeneration as well as similarities and differences between RES and current electrical stimulation treatments in urology, functional electrical stimulation (FES) and neuromodulation.Recent findingsIt has been demonstrated that RES upregulates brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and its receptor to facilitate neuroregeneration, facilitating accurate reinnervation of muscles by motoneurons. Further, RES upregulates growth factors in glial cells. Within the past 2 years, RES of the pudendal nerve upregulated BDNF in Onuf's nucleus, the cell bodies of motoneurons that course through the pudendal nerve and accelerated functional recovery in an animal model of stress urinary incontinence. Additionally, electrical stimulation of the vaginal tissue in an animal model of stress urinary incontinence accelerated functional recovery.SummaryRES has great potential but future research is needed to expand the potential beneficial effects of RES in the field of urology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)458-465
Number of pages8
JournalCurrent opinion in urology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1 2019


  • electrical stimulation
  • erectile dysfunction
  • pudendal nerve
  • urinary incontinence
  • voiding dysfunction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Urology

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