Cellular immunity in interstitial cystitis

J. P. MacDermott, C. H. Miller, N. Levy, Anthony R Stone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


It has been suggested that interstitial cystitis is an autoimmune disease. The evidence for this hypothesis, based on studies of humoral immune factors, has been contradictory. We assessed the immune response in interstitial cystitis by evaluating lymphocyte lymphocyte populations in the peripheral blood and bladder tissue of interstitial cystitis patients. The lymphocyte phenotypes in peripheral blood were entirely normal, including the CD4 (cluster designation nomenclature) and CD8 subsets, and the CD4:CD8 ratio. Bladder lamina propria showed a predominance of CD4 over CD8 lymphocytes in interstitial and other forms of cystitis. Bladder epithelium showed a similar pattern in bacterial or mechanical cystitis but specimens from patients with interstitial cystitis had a predominance of CD8 cells. The findings of normal lymphocyte populations in the peripheral blood are not supportive of an autoimmune mechanism in the disease. The findings in bladder tissue show that the urothelium is not involved in the inflammatory reaction, as is the lamina propria, and they would suggest, therefore, that the initiating factor does not originate from the bladder lumen. The CD8 predominance in the urothelium along with a CD4 predominance in the lamina propria may form a characteristic pattern for the diagnosis of interstitial cystitis and merits further study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)274-278
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Urology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1991


  • Bladder
  • Cellular
  • Cystitis
  • Immunity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Urology


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