Estrogen receptor β-deficient female mice develop a bladder phenotype resembling human interstitial cystitis

Otabek Imamov, Konstantin Yakimchuk, Andrea Morani, Thomas Schwend, Osamu Wada-Hiraike, Sergei Razumov, Margaret Warner, Jan Åke Gustafsson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


Interstitial cystitis/painful bladder syndrome is a disease seen mostly in women, and symptoms tend to be worse premenopausally or during ovulation. The four cardinal symptoms of interstitial cystitis/painful bladder syndrome are bladder pain, urgency, frequency, and nocturia. Estrogen has been implicated in the etiology of this disease, but the role of the two estrogen receptors (ER), ERα and ERβ, has not been investigated. We found that, in the bladders of WT mice, ERβ is expressed in the basal cell layer of the urothelium. Bladders of male ERβ-/- mice were intact and morphologically indistinguishable from those of their WT littermates. However, in female ERβ-/- mice, there was ulceration and atrophy of bladder urothelium concomitant with infiltration of γδ T cells concentrated in the areas of atrophy and shedding of urothelium. The data support the idea that activated γδ T cells are causing the damage to the urothelium. The hyperactivity of T cells may be because of an imbalance between ERα and ERβ signaling in female ERβ-/- mice. Our data suggest that reduced ERβ signaling might have a role in the pathogenesis of interstitial cystitis, and ERβ could be a candidate for a target of medical therapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9806-9809
Number of pages4
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number23
StatePublished - Jun 5 2007


  • γδ T cells
  • Painful bladder syndrome
  • Urothelium

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • General


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