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Sci Rep


Chronic inflammation is a potential systemic risk factor for many bladder dysfunctions, including interstitial cystitis (IC). However, the underlying mechanism through which a healthy bladder protects itself from inflammatory triggers remains unknown. In this study, we identified odor compounds in urine obtained from IC patients and healthy controls. Using comprehensive solid-phase microextraction-gas chromatography-time-of-flight-mass spectrometry (SPME-GC-TOF-MS) profiling and bioinformatics, we found that levels of urinary volatile metabolites, such as menthol, were significantly reduced in IC patients, compared to healthy controls. In an attempt to understand the mechanistic meaning of our volatile metabolites data and the role of menthol in the immune system, we performed two independent experiments: (a) cytokine profiling, and (b) DNA microarray. Our findings suggest that lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-stimulated inflammatory events, such as the production and secretion of inflammatory cytokines (e.g., TNF-α, IL-6, and IL-1β) and the activation of NF-κB and associated proteins within a large signaling network (e.g., Akt, TLR1, TNFAIP3, and NF-κB), are suppressed by the presence of menthol. These findings broaden our knowledge on the role of urinary menthol in suppressing inflammatory events and provide potential new strategies for alleviating both the odor and inflammation associated with IC.


Institute for Systems Biology