Urinary tract infection (UTI) is one of the most common adult bacterial infections and exhibits high recurrence rates, especially in postmenopausal women. Studies in mouse models suggest that cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2)-mediated inflammation sensitizes the bladder to recurrent UTI (rUTI). However, COX-2-mediated inflammation has not been robustly studied in human rUTI. We used human cohorts to assess urothelial COX-2 production and evaluate its product, PGE2, as a biomarker for rUTI in postmenopausal women. We found that the percentage of COX-2-positive cells was elevated in inflamed versus uninflamed bladder regions. We analyzed the performance of urinary PGE2 as a biomarker for rUTI in a controlled cohort of 92 postmenopausal women and PGE2 consistently outperformed all other tested clinical variables as a predictor of rUTI status. Furthermore, time-to-relapse analysis indicated that the risk of rUTI relapse was 3.6 times higher in women with above median urinary PGE2 levels than with below median levels. Taken together, these data suggest that urinary PGE2 may be a clinically useful diagnostic and prognostic biomarker for rUTI in postmenopausal women.
© 2021 Ebrahimzadeh et al.