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J Urol. 2000 Apr;163(4):1112-5.

Increased tyrosine hydroxylase immunoreactivity in bladder tissue from patients with classic and nonulcer interstitial cystitis.

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  • 1Department of Surgery, Sahlgrenska University Hospital, Göteborg, Sweden.



Interstitial cystitis is a chronic debilitating condition which mainly affects women. Accumulated evidence indicates that interstitial cystitis is a heterogeneous syndrome. The nonulcer subtype appears different than classic interstitial cystitis in regard to symptoms, and endoscopic and histological findings as well as response to various treatments. We further explore the neurogenic nature of this disease using indirect immunofluorescence to evaluate the presence and density of various autonomic and sensory nerve fibers.


Specimens from the bladder wall of 6 patients with classic interstitial cystitis, 7 with nonulcer interstitial cystitis and 6 controls were evaluated to determine the presence and density of nerve fibers containing tyrosine hydroxylase, calcitonin gene-related peptide, neuropeptide Y and substance P using specific antibodies, and the general presence of nerve fibers using a mixture of antibodies against nerve filament, neuron specific enolase and S-100 protein.


Increased density and number of nerve fibers immunoreactive for tyrosine hydroxylase were noted in interstitial cystitis cases compared to controls. Furthermore, there was a difference between classic and nonulcer disease in the overall density of nerves using the antibody mixture.


Our findings indicate an altered peripheral sympathetic innervation in interstitial cystitis cases, which may be an indication of primary neurogenic etiology. The difference in nerve density observed after incubation with the antibody mixture between classic and nonulcer interstitial cystitis supports the hypothesis that the 2 forms represent separate entities.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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