Int Neurourol J.  2022 Sep;26(3):219-226. 10.5213/inj.2244018.009.

White Matter Integrity in Men With Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia and Bladder Outlet Obstruction and Its Contribution to Lower Urinary Tract Symptoms

  • 1Department of Urology, Houston Methodist Hospital, Houston, TX, USA
  • 2MRI Core, Houston Methodist Research Institute, Houston, TX, USA


Lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS) associated with bladder outlet obstruction (BOO) due to benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) can negatively impact quality of life. We evaluated the structural connectivity of the brain in men with BPH with chronic BOO using diffusion tensor imaging (DTI).
Ambulatory male patients aged ≥45 years with BPH and BOO were recruited. LUTS was defined as an International Prostate Symptom Score (IPSS) ≥12 and a maximum urinary flow rate ≤15 mL/sec. Upon recruitment, uroflowmetry and validated questionnaires regarding bladder status were collected. DTI images from each subject were aligned with the ICBM-DTI-81 atlas, defining 50 white matter tracts (WMTs). The mean values of DTI parameters—fractional anisotropy and mean diffusivity—for each WMT were extracted. These measures were then utilized to compute Pearson correlation coefficients with clinical parameters. Objective clinical parameters included uroflowmetry parameters, postvoid residual (PVR) volume, and bladder capacity. Subjective clinical parameters were assessed using validated questionnaires: the IPSS, Incontinence Symptom Index, and Sexual Health Inventory for Men.
The correlation analysis revealed 15 WMTs that showed statistically significant associations (P<0.05) with objective and subjective clinical parameters. Eight tracts were associated with uroflowmetry parameters: maximum flow rate (Qmax), mean flow rate (Qmean), and PVR. Among these tracts, the middle cerebellar peduncles and left medial lemniscus were associated with Qmax; the genu of the corpus callosum, left superior corona radiata, corticospinal tract, right medial lemniscus, posterior corona radiata with Qmean; and the left posterior corona radiata with PVR. Seven tracts also demonstrated significant associations with the IPSS.
Our results suggest correlations between the preserved white matter integrity of specific WMTs and the severity of LUTS based on objective and subjective clinical parameters, leading us to believe that a distinct pathology of the central nervous system might exist.


Benign prostatic hyperplasia; Bladder outlet obstruction; Lower urinary tract symptoms; Diffusion tensor imaging; Neurourology
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