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Ann Diagn Pathol. 2013 Oct;17(5):403-7. doi: 10.1016/j.anndiagpath.2013.03.004. Epub 2013 Jun 2.

Interstitial cystitis: another IgG4-related inflammatory disease?

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  • 1Department of Pathology and Genomic Medicine, The Methodist Hospital, Houston, TX.


Interstitial cystitis (IC) is a disease of undetermined etiology and pathogenesis. Inflammation is thought to play a key role in many patients, characteristically with an increase in mast cells within the detrusor muscle of the bladder. We observed that some patients with IC had prominent plasma cells in bladder tissue, which elicited our interest in their possible pathogenic role in patients with IC. A total of 44 cases of IC were collected, including 42 bladder biopsies and 2 cystectomies. Patient age ranged from 18 to 92 years (average age of 49.5 years) and included 7 male and 37 female patients. The histology and immunostains for IgG, IgG4 and tryptase were examined, and the results were correlated with clinical and cystoscopic findings. Four cases showed a significant increase in IgG4-positive plasma cells, with greater than 30 IgG4 plasma cells per high-power field and an IgG4/IgG ratio greater than 0.5. In addition, statistically significant differences were found between IC with IgG4-positive plasma cells vs IgG4-negative cases. The IgG4-positive patients were of older age and had increased severe inflammation and decreased bladder capacity as compared with the IgG4-negative patients. We propose that a subset of patients with IC may have an IgG4-related disease, and further study including serum IgG4 measurement is required to better define this relationship.

Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


Bladder pain syndrome; IgG4-related disease; Interstitial cystitis; Plasma cells

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