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Biomarker Found in Urine Could Help Diagnose IC/BPS

Parker KS, Crowley JR, Stephens-Shields AJ, van Bokhoven A, Lucia MS, Lai HH, Andriole GL, Hooton TM, Mullins C, Henderson JP. Urinary Metabolomics Identifies a Molecular Correlate of Interstitial Cystitis/Bladder Pain Syndrome in a Multidisciplinary Approach to the Study of Chronic Pelvic Pain (MAPP) Research Network Cohort. EBioMedicine. 2016 May;7:167-74. doi: 10.1016/j.ebiom.2016.03.040. Epub 2016 Mar 31.

One reason why interstitial cystitis/bladder pain syndrome (IC/BPS) is difficult to diagnose and treat is a lack of biochemical markers (i.e., substances found in tissues or fluids such as blood or urine that are universally accepted as an indication of the disorder. In an effort to help change that, researchers in this study evaluated urine specimens from female IC/BPS patients with a technique called mass spectrometry-based global metabolite profiling. The goal was to identify one or more metabolites–substances involved in growth, reproduction, development and other related processes–capable of distinguishing IC/BPS patients from non-IC/BPS patients. They did find one metabolite, known as Etio-S (etiocholan-3α-ol-17-one sulfate), that was able to detect IC/BPS more than 90% of the time. Moreover, there was a correlation between levels of Etio-S found in the urine and IC/BPS symptoms, pelvic pain, and number of painful body sites. Studying how metabolites work, a science known as metabolomics, is just one approach to identifying biomarkers for IC/BPS. In other recent studies, investigators have found potential markers using brain imaging and analysis of inflammatory markers, among other techniques. Investigators hope that by combining these approaches, they might be able to better define the early changes associated with IC/BPS, which might lead to earlier intervention to treat the disorder.