Interstitial cystitis presents a diagnostic and therapeutic challenge. Although many etiologies, including autoimmunity, have been proposed its pathogenesis remains obscure. Tamm-Horsfall protein has been identified in the superficial urothelium of patients with interstitial cystitis demonstrating abnormal urothelial permeability. Eight patients with a clinical diagnosis of interstitial cystitis underwent cystoscopy and bladder biopsy. Characteristic cystoscopic findings were present, and each patient had chronic inflammation and mast cells by histopathological analysis. Preoperative anti-Tamm-Horsfall protein serum antibody (IgG) titers were determined by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (range 500 to 8,000, mean 2,750). A control group of 8 patients with a negative urological history also had titers of 0 to 500 (p = 0.02). The humoral response to Tamm-Horsfall protein in these patients suggests a role for Tamm-Horsfall protein in interstitial cystitis. Measurement of serum Tamm-Horsfall protein antibody may prove to be useful as a noninvasive diagnostic test in patients with this disease.
- bladder, cystitis, autoantibodies
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