Tamm-Horsfall protein facilitates catheter associated urinary tract infection

BMC Res Notes. 2012 Sep 26;5:532. doi: 10.1186/1756-0500-5-532.


Background: Urinary catheters are associated, commonly with bacteriuria and frequently with urinary tract infection. Tamm-Horsfall Protein (THP) is urine's most abundant protein and is known to bind to uropathogenic bacteria. The role of THP in the pathogenesis of catheter associated urinary tract infection (CAUTI) is not clear. We examined the role of THP in facilitating bacterial binding to urinary catheters in vivo and in vitro.

Findings: Twenty one urinary catheters were obtained from 20 hospitalized patients. THP was eluted from the catheter surface and catheter segments were cultured. Additional studies were performed in vitro on unused silicone and latex catheters to determine the binding of THP, and the effect of THP on the binding of Escherichia coli (E. coli) and Pseudomonas aeruginosa (P. aeruginosa), to the catheter surface.On catheters obtained from patients, the THP deposition was significantly more on culture positive catheters than on culture negative catheters. In the in vitro studies, THP bound to both silicone and latex catheters, and THP enhanced the adherence of E. coli and P. aeruginosa to both types of catheters.

Conclusion: THP binds to urinary catheters and facilitates the binding of uropathogenic bacteria to catheters.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Bacterial Adhesion / physiology
  • Bacterial Infections / metabolism*
  • Bacterial Infections / microbiology
  • Catheter-Related Infections / metabolism*
  • Catheter-Related Infections / microbiology
  • Catheters / microbiology
  • Escherichia coli / physiology
  • Host-Pathogen Interactions
  • Humans
  • Latex / metabolism
  • Protein Binding
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa / physiology
  • Silicones / metabolism
  • Time Factors
  • Urinary Tract Infections / metabolism*
  • Urinary Tract Infections / microbiology
  • Uromodulin / metabolism*
  • Uromodulin / urine


  • Latex
  • Silicones
  • UMOD protein, human
  • Uromodulin