In vivo models of interstitial cystitis

Joellen L Westropp, C. A Tony Buffington

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

106 Scopus citations


Purpose: We systematically identified and evaluated various animal models that have been studied to help identify the underlying mechanisms of and possible treatment options for interstitial cystitis. Materials and Methods: Models of interstitial cystitis published between 1983 and 2001 were obtained by searching MEDLINE and other Internet databases using cystitis and model as the primary key words. Models with characteristics of interstitial cystitis similar to those defined by National Institutes of Arthritis, Diabetes, Digestive and Kidney Diseases criteria were reviewed. Some articles describing animal models with similar pathological conditions in other organs were also included to enlarge the base of potentially relevant material. Results: We identified and evaluated some 16 animal models of interstitial cystitis, which we categorized as bladder inflammation induced by intravesical administration of an irritant or immune stimulant, systemic and environmentally induced inflammation, and a naturally occurring model of interstitial cystitis that occurs in cats. Some abnormalities identified in humans and cats with interstitial cystitis can be reproduced in healthy animals using luminal, systemic or environmental stimuli. At the level of the bladder the source of stimulation cannot be discriminated. Variability in the extent of bladder distention complicated the interpretation of some studies. In addition, the noxious stimuli used can affect many epithelial surfaces as well as the urothelium, suggesting they are nonspecific responses to injury rather than specific to interstitial cystitis. Conclusions: No model in bladder injury in healthy animals currently reproduces as many features of interstitial cystitis as the naturally occurring disease in cats. While induced models of relative injury may help to provide insight into the bladder response to injury, feline interstitial cystitis follows a similar chronic waxing and waning time course as does interstitial cystitis in humans, which may be more suitable for studying the effects of stressors on the severity of clinical signs as well as newly proposed therapies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)694-702
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Urology
Issue number2 I
StatePublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Bladder
  • Cats
  • Cystitis, interstitial
  • Inflammation
  • Models, animal

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Urology


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