Integrated mRNA-miRNA transcriptome analysis of bladder biopsies from patients with bladder pain syndrome identifies signaling alterations contributing to the disease pathogenesis.

Interstitial cystitis, or bladder pain syndrome (IC/BPS), is a chronic bladder disorder characterized by lower abdominal pain associated with the urinary bladder and accompanied by urinary frequency and urgency in the absence of identifiable causes. IC/PBS can be separated into the classic Hunner's ulcerative type and the more prevalent non-ulcerative disease. Our aim was to unravel the biological processes and dysregulated cell signaling pathways leading to the bladder remodeling in non-ulcerative bladder pain syndrome (BPS) by studying the gene expression changes in the patients' biopsies.

We performed paired microRNA (miRNA) and mRNA expression profiling in the bladder biopsies of BPS patients with non-Hunner interstitial cystitis phenotype, using comprehensive Next-generation sequencing (NGS) and studied the activated pathways and altered biological processes based on the global gene expression changes. Paired mRNA-miRNA transcriptome analysis delineated the regulatory role of the dysregulated miRNAs by identifying their targets in the disease-induced pathways.

EIF2 Signaling and Regulation of eIF4 and p70S6K Signaling, activated in response to cellular stress, were among the most significantly regulated processes during BPS. Leukotriene Biosynthesis nociceptive pathway, important in inflammatory diseases and neuropathic pain, was also significantly activated. The biological processes identified using Gene Ontology over-representation analysis were clustered into six main functional groups: cell cycle regulation, chemotaxis of immune cells, muscle development, muscle contraction, remodeling of extracellular matrix and peripheral nervous system organization and development. Compared to the Hunner's ulcerative type IC, activation of the immune pathways was modest in non-ulcerative BPS, limited to neutrophil chemotaxis and IFN-γ-mediated signaling. We identified 62 miRNAs, regulated and abundant in BPS and show that they target the mRNAs implicated in eIF2 signalling pathway.

The bladders of non-ulcerative BPS patients recruited in this study had alterations consistent with a strong cell proliferative response and an up-regulation of smooth muscle contractility, while the contribution of inflammatory processes was modest. Pathway analysis of the integrated mRNA-miRNA NGS dataset pinpointed important regulatory miRNAs whose dysregulation might contribute to the pathogenesis. Observed molecular changes in the peripheral nervous system organization and development indicate the potential role of local bladder innervation in the pain perceived in this type of BPS.

BMC urology. 2021 Dec 07*** epublish ***

Ali Hashemi Gheinani, Akshay Akshay, Mustafa Besic, Annette Kuhn, Irene Keller, Rémy Bruggmann, Hubert Rehrauer, Rosalyn M Adam, Fiona C Burkhard, Katia Monastyrskaya

Functional Urology Research Group, Department for BioMedical Research DBMR, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland., Department of Gynaecology, Inselspital University Hospital, 3010, Bern, Switzerland., Interfaculty Bioinformatics Unit, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland., Functional Genomics Center Zurich, ETH Zurich/University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland., Urological Diseases Research Center, Boston Children's Hospital, Boston, MA, USA., Department of Urology, Inselspital University Hospital, 3010, Bern, Switzerland., Functional Urology Research Group, Department for BioMedical Research DBMR, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland. .

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