"It's a powerful enough technique that we might even be able to identify subtle differences in patients with multiple diseases that exist in addition to, but that are unrelated to, the interstitial cystitis," he said.
The researchers then determined the chemical structures within those molecular profiles, which showed that blood from cats with the syndrome contained at least 20 percent more tryptophan and kynurenine than did samples from healthy cats. Kynurenine is a brain compound produced when tryptophan breaks down in the body. An elevated level of kynurenine suggests that tryptophan is being diverted from its conversion into a chemical responsible for sending signals in the brain.
This testing method differentiated between diseases in humans as well, classifying the samples as coming from either healthy subjects, IC patients, or patients with another urological disorder, Buffington said.
In addition to improving the potential to diagnose interstitial cystitis, understanding chemical processes related to this chronic disease could offer new directions for the pursuit of treatments and even prevention strategies, he said.
"It's all speculative, but it may be that there is some kind of primary central nervous system disorder that results in problems in the bladder in some people, and in the gut or other organs in others," Buffington said. "It is possible that this is a biomarker for the underlying vulnerability or susceptibility."
Buffington has led studies that show that in cats, feline interstitial cystitis can be managed through a series of changes to the affected animals' environment that reduce stressors and promote stability and predictability.
"We can put these cats into
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Ohio State University