The study of chemicals found in blood samples, published in Analyst, suggests tryptophan -- an essential amino acid -- is processed in those with a painful bladder disorder called interstitial cystitis in a way that may affect how brain signals are transmitted.
Senior author Tony Buffington of Ohio State University in Columbus and colleagues collected samples from cats with feline interstitial cystitis, healthy cats and cats with other diseases, as well as samples from humans with the painful bladder syndrome, healthy humans and humans with other urological illnesses.
Using infrared microspectroscopy to tell the difference between blood samples on the basis of their molecular profiles, the researchers find samples from humans and cats with interstitial cystitis demonstrated nearly identical molecular peaks.
"What we know now is that this testing method is very sensitive and specific for the disorder in both humans and domestic cats. So far it hasn't missed one diagnosis," Buffington says in a statement.
Symptoms of interstitial cystitis include recurring discomfort or pain in the bladder and pelvis, and often an urgent and frequent need to urinate, the researchers say. The diagnosis typically follows tests to rule out other diseases.