Interstitial cystitis/bladder pain syndrome is a debilitating condition of unknown etiology characterized by persistent pelvic pain with lower urinary tract symptoms and comprises a wide variety of potentially clinically useful phenotypes with different possible etiologies. Current clinicopathological and genomic evidence suggests that interstitial cystitis/bladder pain syndrome should be categorized by the presence or absence of Hunner lesions, rather than by clinical phenotyping based on symptomatology. The Hunner lesion subtype is a distinct inflammatory disease with proven bladder etiology characterized by epithelial denudation and enhanced immune responses frequently accompanied by clonal expansion of infiltrating B cells, with potential engagement of infection. Meanwhile, the non-Hunner lesion subtype is a non-inflammatory disorder with little evidence of bladder etiology. It is potentially associated with urothelial malfunction and neurophysiological dysfunction, and frequently presents with somatic and/or psychological symptoms, that commonly result in central nervous sensitization. Animal models of autoimmune cystitis and neurogenic sensitization might serve as disease models for the Hunner lesion and non-Hunner lesion subtypes, respectively. Here, we revisit the taxonomy of interstitial cystitis/bladder pain syndrome according to current research, and discuss its potential pathophysiology and representative animal models. Categorization of interstitial cystitis/bladder pain syndrome based on cystoscopy is mandatory to design optimized treatment and research strategies for each subtype. A tailored approach that specifically targets the characteristic inflammation and epithelial denudation for the Hunner lesion subtype, or the urothelial malfunction, sensitized/altered nervous system and psychosocial problems for the non-Hunner lesion subtype, is essential for better clinical management and research progress in this complex condition.
International journal of urology : official journal of the Japanese Urological Association. 2020 Apr 04 [Epub ahead of print]
Yoshiyuki Akiyama, Yi Luo, Philip M Hanno, Daichi Maeda, Yukio Homma
Department of Urology, Graduate School of Medicine, The University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan., Department of Urology, University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa, USA., Department of Urology, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California, USA., Department of Clinical Genomics, Graduate School of Medicine, Osaka University, Osaka, Japan., Japanese Red Cross Medical Center, Tokyo, Japan.