• lower urinary tract disease;
  • nerve growth factor;
  • overactive bladder

Objectives: To measure urinary nerve growth factor (NGF) levels in patients with several urinary tract diseases under different conditions and compare with NGF levels in patients with overactive bladder (OAB) and interstitial cystitis/painful bladder syndrome (IC/PBS).

Methods: Urinary NGF levels were measured using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and normalized by urinary creatinine concentration. Patients with acute bacterial cystitis, urinary tract stone, urothelial cell carcinoma, and OAB patients after antimuscarinic therapy were evaluated. The urinary NGF levels of OAB, IC/PBS and controls from previous studies were used for comparison. NGF levels were compared among subgroups and between urinary tract diseases with or without associated OAB symptoms. The urinary NGF levels were also compared among natural filling, after normal saline filling and after potassium chloride test in a group of OAB and IC/PBS patients.

Results: Patients with acute bacterial cystitis, urinary tract stones or urothelial cell carcinoma had elevated NGF levels that were not associated with the presence of OAB symptoms. Symptomatic cystitis patients who had resolved OAB symptoms after antibiotic treatment had a significant decrease in urinary NGF levels. The urinary NGF levels decreased significantly in OAB patients with effective antimuscarinic treatment for 6 months, but remained stationary and higher than the controls for up to 12 months after treatment.

Conclusion: Urinary NGF is not produced solely in patients with OAB or IC/PBS. Acute bacterial cystitis, urinary tract stones and urothelial cell carcinoma can have high urinary NGF production.