Faculty Advisor

Robakiewicz, Philip E.


Interstitial cystitis (IC) is a debilitating human disease of the bladder characterized by pelvic pain and frequency of urination. There is no single treatment effective for all persons with IC and, due to the unknown etiology of this disease, preventative methods remain undefined. The goal of this investigation was to identify the class or classes of immunoglobulins that recognize bladder proteins as one or more of the following: IgG, IgA, IgE, or IgM. Results from an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) revealed higher optical density readings for collective Ig's in experimental sera than in control sera. Using the same sera samples, rat 216(+) and rat 98-17(-), results from two Western blots supported an autoimmune etiology for IC by indicating the presence of collective lg immunoglobins. At this point in our investigation, no conclusive statements regarding the class or classes of immunoglobins involved in IC pathogenesis are available. It is encouraging to see no evidence that discounts the validity of the autoimmune hypothesis; in fact, due to the consistency of lg experimental observations in these experiments, there is now further support for this hypothesis.


Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Date Accepted

January 1999



Project Type

Major Qualifying Project


Restricted-WPI community only

Advisor Department

Biology and Biotechnology