A Culture-Independent Analysis of the Microbiota of Female Interstitial Cystitis/Bladder Pain Syndrome Participants in the MAPP Research Network

J Clin Med. 2019 Mar 26;8(3):415. doi: 10.3390/jcm8030415.


We surveyed urine microbiota of females diagnosed with interstitial cystitis/bladder pain syndrome (IC/BPS) and matched control participants enrolled in the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Multidisciplinary Approach to the Study of Chronic Pelvic Pain (MAPP) Research Network using the culture-independent methodology. Midstream urine specimens were analyzed with the Plex-ID molecular diagnostic platform that utilizes polymerase chain reaction⁻electrospray ionization⁻time-of-flight⁻mass spectrometry (PCR-ESI-TOF MS) to provide a comprehensive identification of bacterial and select fungal species. IC/BPS and control participants were evaluated for differences (presence, diversity, and abundance) in species and genus. Urine specimens obtained from 181 female IC/BPS and 182 female control participants detected a total of 92 species (41 genera). Mean (SD) species count was 2.49 (1.48) and 2.30 (1.28) among IC/BPS and control participants, respectively. Overall species composition did not significantly differ between IC/BPS and control participants at any level (p = 0.726 species level, p = 0.222 genus level). IC/BPS participants urine trended to an overabundance of Lactobacillus gasseri (p = 0.09) detected but had a lower prevalence of Corynebacterium compared with control participants (p = 0.002). The relative abundance data analysis mirrored the prevalence data differences with no significant differences in most species or genus abundance other than Lactobacillus gasseri and Corynebacterium (p = 0.08 and p = 0.001, respectively). No cause and/or effect conclusion can be drawn from this observation, but it suggests that a more comprehensive evaluation (vaginal, bowel, catheterized bladder and/or tissue-based specimens) of the lower urinary tract microbiota in IC/BPS patients is warranted.

Keywords: bladder pain syndrome; infection; interstitial cystitis; microbiome; microbiota.