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J Formos Med Assoc. 2014 Jan;113(1):17-22. doi: 10.1016/j.jfma.2012.03.010. Epub 2012 Jun 5.

Decreased expression of zonula occludens-1 and occludin in the bladder urothelium of patients with interstitial cystitis/painful bladder syndrome.

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Division of Urology, Department of Surgery, Taichung Armed Forces General Hospital, Taichung, Taiwan, ROC; Central Taiwan University of Science and Technology, Taichung, Taiwan, ROC.
Central Taiwan University of Science and Technology, Taichung, Taiwan, ROC; Department of Urology, Taichung Hospital, Department of Health, Taichung, Taiwan, ROC. Electronic address:



Unique barrier properties of the urothelial surface membrane permit urine storage without contents leak into the bloodstream. Previous reports suggested that the bladder urothelial barrier might be compromised in interstitial cystitis/painful bladder syndrome (IC/PBS). We examined the changes of tight junction proteins (zonula occludens-1 (ZO-1) and occludin) in IC/PBS patients.


Bladder samples were derived from of 32 patients with IC/PBS and eight controls. We detected the tight junction proteins of ZO-1 and occludin expression by immunoblotting, immunohistochemical (IHC) staining and double immunofluorescent (IF) staining with confocal microscopy. Data were analyzed using the Mann-Whitney U-test.


Expression of ZO-1 and occludin in the IC/PBS group was reduced compared to the control group by immunoblotting and IHC staining. Also, the thinning and denudation of urothelium were demonstrated in the IC/PBS group by histological study. IF staining showed the interruption of bladder urothelium in IC/PBS patients under confocal microscopy.


Our data showed that decreased expression of tight junction proteins (ZO-1 and occludin) and interruption of bladder urothelium in IC/PBS patients. Treatment to repair the discontinuous urothelium may be useful to relieve some clinical symptoms of patients with IC/PBS.


Interstitial cystitis; occludin; painful bladder syndrome; zonula occludens-1

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