Purpose: To correlate the presence of fungi with symptom flares, pain and urinary severity in a prospective, longitudinal study of women with IC/BPS enrolled in the MAPP Research Network.
Methods: Flare status, pelvic pain, urinary severity, and midstream urine were collected at baseline, 6 and 12 months from female IC/BPS participants with at least one flare and age-matched participants with no reported flares. Multilocus PCR coupled with electrospray ionization/mass spectrometry was used for identification of fungal species and genus. Associations between "mycobiome" (species/genus presence, relative abundance, Shannon's/Chao1 diversity indices) and current flare status, pain, urinary severity were evaluated using generalized linear mixed models, permutational multivariate analysis of variance, Wilcoxon's rank-sum test.
Results: The most specific analysis detected 13 fungal species from 8 genera in 504 urine samples from 202 females. A more sensitive analysis detected 43 genera. No overall differences were observed in fungal species/genus composition or diversity by flare status or pain severity. Longitudinal analyses suggested greater fungal diversity (Chao1 Mean Ratio 3.8, 95% CI 1.3-11.2, p = 0.02) and a significantly greater likelihood of detecting any fungal species (OR = 5.26, 95% CI 1.1-25.8, p = 0.04) in high vs low urinary severity participants. Individual taxa analysis showed a trend toward increased presence and relative abundance of Candida (OR = 6.63, 95% CI 0.8-58.5, p = 0.088) and Malassezia (only identified in 'high' urinary severity phenotype) for high vs low urinary symptoms.
Conclusion: This analysis suggests the possibility that greater urinary symptom severity is associated with the urinary mycobiome urine in some females with IC/BPS.
Keywords: Bladder pain syndrome; Flares; Fungal; Interstitial cystitis; Mycobiome.