Clin Microbiol Rev
Domingue GJ Sr, Hellstrom WJ
Department of Urology, Tulane University School of Medicine, New Orleans, Louisiana 70112, USA. email@example.com
The laboratory diagnosis of acute bacterial prostatitis is straightforward and easily accomplished in clinical laboratories. Chronic bacterial prostatitis, and especially chronic idiopathic prostatitis (most often referred to as abacterial prostatitis), presents a real challenge to the clinician and clinical microbiologist. Clinically, the diagnosis of chronic idiopathic prostatitis is differentiated from that of acute prostatitis by a lack of prostatic inflammation and no "significant" (controversial) leukocytes or bacteria in the expressed prostatic secretions. Despite these diagnostic criteria, the etiology of chronic idiopathic prostatitis is unknown. While this review covers the entire spectrum of microbially caused acute prostatitis (including common and uncommon bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites) and microbially associated chronic prostatitis, a special focus has been given to chronic idiopathic prostatitis. The idiopathic syndrome is commonly diagnosed in men but is poorly treated. Recent data convincingly suggests a possible bacterial etiology for the condition. Provocative molecular studies have been published reporting the presence of 16S rRNA bacterial sequences in prostate biopsy tissue that is negative for ordinary bacteria by routine culture in men with chronic idiopathic prostatitis. Additionally, special culture methods have indicated that difficult-to-culture coryneforms and coagulase-negative staphylococci are present in expressed prostatic secretions found to be negative by routine culture techniques. Treatment failures are not uncommon in chronic prostatitis. Literature reports suggest that antimicrobial treatment failures in chronic idiopathic prostatitis caused by organisms producing extracellular slime might result from the virulent properties of coagulase-negative staphylococci or other bacteria. While it is difficult to definitively extrapolate from animal models, antibiotic pharmokinetic studies with a murine model have suggested that treatment failures in chronic prostatitis are probably a result of the local microenvironment surrounding the persistent focal and well-protected small bacterial biofilms buried within the prostate gland. These conclusions support the molecular and culture data implicating bacteria as a cause of chronic idiopathic prostatitis.