Researchers at the University of Maryland along with investigators at the National Cancer Institute have completed the first description of a toxin known as antiproliferative factor (APF). This toxin is found in the urine of approximately 95% of IC patients. It inhibits the growth of bladder epithelial cells, which may explain why those with IC have a disorder distinguished by thinning or ulceration of the bladder’s inner lining or epithelium. The researchers say that knowing details about this toxin, which they had earlier identified, may lead to a diagnostic test for IC.
“We don’t know what causes interstitial cystitis, and until now we have not had a good diagnostic tool,” says Susan K. F. Keay, M.D., Ph.D., professor of medicine and the principal investigator of the study at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. “
According to Dr. Keay, the toxin occurs in tiny quantities in urine from people with IC, but does not appear to be present in urine from people with a normal bladder. The toxin is a type of peptide or small protein that puts the epithelial cells in the inner lining of the bladder into a state of suspended animation. The cells cannot grow or proliferate by dividing to form new cells. “We know that if you put the APF toxin on normal bladder cells, it keeps them from growing,” says Dr. Keay. “But once you remove it, after a week to 10 days, the cells can resume their normal growth. So it’s truly an antiproliferative factor.”
I found this information on the Interstitial Cystitis Association site. Very informative! I would recommend bringing this up to your urologist at your next visit. See what he/she says about it!