Pathophysiology of interstitial cystitis.

Interstitial cystitis/bladder pain syndrome is a chronic pain syndrome whose causes remains elusive with no generally accepted treatment. A hallmark of functional pain syndromes such as interstitial cystitis/bladder pain syndrome is pain in the absence of demonstrable pathology of the viscera or associated nerves. Patients with chronic pain experience a greater impairment in quality of life than healthy controls. In addition, interstitial cystitis/bladder pain syndrome symptoms can frequently overlap with other conditions including irritable bowel syndrome, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, anxiety disorders, and a number of other syndromes not directly related to the urinary bladder. Because of the complex pathophysiology, a number of animal models have been studied over the years to better understand mechanisms underlying patient symptoms. These models can include: bladder centric, complex mechanisms and psychological and physical stress models. Such animal models can aid in the investigation of aspects of interstitial cystitis/bladder pain syndrome that cannot be pursued in humans as well as to develop and test potential therapies. In addition, the search for urinary factors that may be a cause of interstitial cystitis/bladder pain syndrome has resulted in the discovery of a number of potential targets that could serve as predictive biomarkers which can aid in early diagnosis and treatment of this chronic disorder.

International journal of urology : official journal of the Japanese Urological Association. 2019 Jun [Epub]

Lori A Birder

Departments of Medicine and Pharmacology and Chemical Biology, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA.