Transurethral resection material from a series of 64 patients with classical (ulcer) interstitial cystitis (60 women and 4 men, with a mean age of 64 years), 44 with nonulcer interstitial cystitis (40 women and 4 men, with a mean age of 39 years) and 20 control women (mean age 49 years) were studied by light microscopy. Patients with classical disease had mucosal ulceration and hemorrhage, granulation tissue, intense inflammatory infiltrate, elevated mast cell counts and perineural infiltrates. Patients with nonulcer disease, despite the same severe symptoms, had a relatively unaltered mucosa with a sparse inflammatory response, the main feature being multiple, small, mucosal ruptures and suburothelial hemorrhages that were noted in a high proportion of the patients. It is suggested that these features are characteristic, specific and prevalent enough to allow for morphological differentiation of the 2 clinical subtypes of interstitial cystitis.
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