IL-33 mast cell axis is central in LL-37 induced bladder inflammation and pain in a murine interstitial cystitis model

Interstitial cystitis (IC), also known as painful bladder syndrome (PBS), is a debilitating chronic condition that afflicts over 3 million women above the age of 18 in the U.S., and most patients fail to respond to current treatment options. Mast cells have previously been implicated as both a diagnostic and prognostic marker in IC/PBS. Patients with IC/PBS have been shown to have elevated levels of IL-33, a cytokine released in response to tissue insult, in their urine. We hypothesize that mast cell-mediated inflammation induced from IL-33 may play an important role in initiating pain and inflammation in IC/PBS. A human cathelicidin, LL-37, which is found at elevated levels in IC/PBS patients, was used to induce an IC/PBS-like state of inflammation and bladder pain in mast cell deficient C-kit (-/-) and wild type C57Bl/6 (WT) mice. Inflammation was quantified using myeloperoxidase (MPO) expression in bladder tissues measured via ELISA. Response rate to suprapubic stimulation from von Frey filaments was used to assess the relative pain and discomfort. Both types of mice increased IL-33 expression in response to LL-37 exposure. However, mast cell deficient mice demonstrated significantly lower levels of inflammation (p < 0.001) and reduced pain response (p < 0.001) compared to WT mice. These findings implicate an IL-33-mast cell dependent axis with a potential etiology of pain and inflammation in IC/PBS. Future therapeutics aimed at targeting the IL-33 - mast cell axis could potentially serve as useful targets for treating IC/PBS.

Cytokine. 2018 May 18 [Epub ahead of print]

M Martin Jensen, Wanjian Jia, Austin J Schults, Xiangyang Ye, Glenn D Prestwich, Siam Oottamasathien

Department of Bioengineering, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT 84112, USA., Division of Urology, Section of Pediatric Urology, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT, 84113, USA., Department of Pharmacotherapy, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT, 84112, USA., Department of Medicinal Chemistry, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT, 84112, USA., Division of Urology, Section of Pediatric Urology, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT, 84113, USA; Department of Medicinal Chemistry, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT, 84112, USA; Department of Surgery and Division of Pediatric Urology, Primary Children's Hospital, Salt Lake City, UT, 84113, USA; Department of Pediatric Surgery, Division of Pediatric Urology, Massachusetts General Hospital for Children, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02114, USA. Electronic address: .