DNA Virus May Be Linked to Interstitial Cystitis
Winter BJ, O’Connell HE, Bowden S, Carey M, Eisen DP. A Case Control Study Reveals that Polyomaviruria Is Significantly Associated with Interstitial Cystitis and Vesical Ulceration. PLoS One. 2015 Sep 1;10(9):e0137310. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0137310. eCollection 2015.
Polyomaviruses are small, DNA-based viruses that are widespread in nature, and usually don’t cause an illness unless an individual’s immune system is weakened. The aim of this study was to see if such polyomaviruses might contribute to the development of interstitial cystitis. In fact, the authors did identify an association between interstitial cystitis and presence of polyomaviruses in the urine. The study included 50 patients with interstitial cystitis, who were compared with 50 healthy control subjects matched for age. Investigators found that polyomavirus shedding was significantly more frequent among the patients with interstitial cystitis. Moreover, the virus shedding was more likely among patients who had vesical ulceration, which is a marker of interstitial cystitis severity. There was also some indication that treatment with clorpactin (a therapy that’s active against DNA viruses) helped improve interstitial cystitis symptoms in those patients who had virus shedding. While this is just a pilot study, the investigators believe the data are compelling enough to warrant further investigation.