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Annu Rev Med. 1999;50:149-58.

The biology of cystitis: host and bacterial factors.

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Department of Microbiology, Medical School, Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom.


Cystitis is caused by a relatively small number of bacterial species. To colonize and grow in the urinary tract, these organisms have developed and acquired special properties (virulence factors) that allow them to overcome the defences of the urinary tract, particularly clearance by urine flow. These virulence factors are unlikely to be required during transmission from host to host, and sometimes their constitutive expression may actually be disadvantageous. Such factors are therefore regulated by the environment and in a coordinate manner to ensure their most appropriate expression for the conditions encountered. This review focuses on the biology of the urinary tract and the bacterial properties necessary to cause cystitis. The regulation of virulence factors at the different stages of the infection is considered, and a general model for the pathogenesis of urinary tract infection is proposed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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