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Infect Immun. 1988 May;56(5):1341-3.

Reversible inactivation of bladder surface glycosaminoglycan antibacterial activity by protamine sulfate.

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Department of Surgery, University of California Medical Center, San Diego 92103.


Prior studies in our laboratory have shown that the bladder surface is lined with glycosaminoglycans which appear to be an important antibacterial defense mechanism that operates by resisting bacterial adherence and infection. The present study further implicates bladder surface glycosaminoglycans as the key antiadherent factor and also suggests a potential model for diseases (such as urinary tract infections) whereby the antiadherent surface of the bladder is inactivated biochemically. Protamine sulfate treatment of bladder tissue was found to significantly increase bacterial adherence to the urinary bladder by approximately 2.3-fold. This effect was reversed by a second treatment of the bladder with pentosanpolysulfate (a polysaccharide known to duplicate the surface antiadherent effect). Protamine sulfate had no effect on bacterial viability or bacterial adherence when bacteria were pretreated with it.

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