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Targeting ICAM-1 May Reduce Bladder Inflammation in IC/BPS, Rat Study Shows

Zhang X, He H, Lu G, Xu T, Qin L, Wang X, Jin X, Liu B, Zhao Z, Shen Z, Shao Y. Specific inhibition of ICAM-1 effectively reduces bladder inflammation in a rat model of severe non-bacterial cystitis. Sci Rep. 2016 Oct 26;6:35672. doi: 10.1038/srep35672.

Bladder inflammation is likely one of the key contributors to ongoing symptoms in patients with interstitial cystitis/bladder pain syndrome (IC/BPS). In this study, investigators looked at intercellular adhesion molecule 1 (ICAM-1), a protein that is thought to have pro-inflammatory effects. Previous studies have shown an enhanced intensity of ICAM-1 in patients with IC/BPS that correlates with the degree of bladder inflammation. To study this further, investigators used a rat model of severe non-bacterial cystitis, which resembles IC/BPS. After inducing severe bladder inflammation in the rats, the investigators treated some of them with an anti-ICAM-1 antibody, while others were treated with celecoxib, which is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) and others received aprepitant, an anti-nausea drug that also has anti-inflammatory effects. They found that the anti-ICAM-1 antibody significantly decreased bladder inflammation and counts of mast cells, which are cells that play an important role in the process of inflammation. Moreover, the effects of the antibody on bladder inflammation were superior to what the investigators observed with both celecoxib and aprepitant. Based on those findings, it’s thought that ICAM-1 may indeed play a key role in bladder inflammation; and thus, drugs targeting ICAM-1 might be useful someday in treating IC/BPS.