New Evidence for Exogenous Glycosaminoglycans Treatment of ‘Cystitis': Is the Future Now?

*Massimo Lazzeri,1 Philip Van Kerrebroeck2

1. Department of Urology, Istituto Clinico Humanitas IRCCS, Humanitas Clinical and Research Center, Rozzano, Milan, Italy
2. Department of Urology, Maastricht University Medical Center, Maastricht, Netherlands
*Correspondence to

Disclosure: The authors have declared no conflicts of interests.
Received: 04.07.16 Accepted: 25.07.16
Support: The publication of this article was funded by IBSA. The views and opinions expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily IBSA.
Citation: EMJ. 2016;1[3]:70-75.


Chronic cystitis may be due to different known causes. Current basic science research has revealed a wide consensus that chronic cystitis may arise from a primary defective urothelium lining and in particular from a damage of its glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) component. The GAG layer is composed mainly of heparin, dermatan, the glycosaminoglycans, chondroitin sulphate (CS), and hyaluronic acid (HA) which adhere to the surface of the urothelium. The main components, CS and HA, play a central role in the urine barrier and antibacterial defence mechanisms. When the GAG layer loses its protective barrier function it translates into increasing permeability of the urothelium. The main consequence of this is that bladder inflammation may arise. Exogenous restoration of the GAG layer has recently become a new opportunity for the treatment of recurrent urinary tract infections, painful bladder syndrome or interstitial cystitis, and lower urinary tract symptoms after chemotherapy or pelvic radiotherapy. The aim of this paper is to update the literature about the use of exogenous for the treatment of cystitis.

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