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Urinary Cations: Implicated as Potential Cause of Bladder Dysfunction in Male IC/BPS Patients

Argade S, Berecz Z, Su Y, Parsons CL. Increased toxic urinary cations in males with interstitial cystitis: a possible cause of bladder symptoms. World J Urol. 2016 Mar 30. [Epub ahead of print]

Although the exact cause of interstitial cystitis/bladder pain syndrome (IC/BPS) remains unknown, some researchers believe that certain factors in the urine could be a contributing factor or cause of the condition. This group of investigators previously found that urinary cations (positively-charged ions) are found in higher amounts in patients with IC/BPS compared with control subjects. They also found urinary cations from the IC/BPS patients were more toxic to living cells versus those found in controls; moreover, a substance called Tamm–Horsfall protein (THP) was effective in reducing this excess cytotoxicity. This follow-up report specifically focuses on measurement of these toxic urinary cations in male patients with IC/BPS and whether THP can neutralize them. The investigators collected urine specimens from 51 male patients and 33 male controls and found the cationic content of the urine was significantly higher in the male IC/BPS patients. The cations were more toxic to cells in the IC/BPS patients, and as in the previous study, it was found that THP reduced this toxicity to the level seen in the control subjects. Taken together, these results suggest that these cations might be the cause for bladder dysfunction in patients with IC/BPS, and that a new therapeutic strategy could be explored for potential to relieve bladder symptoms associated with IC/BPS.