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Infectious Diseases - Obstetrics

Host Genetic Background Impacts Disease Outcome During Intrauterine Infection with Ureaplasma parvum
Published: Wednesday, August 29, 2012
Author: Maria von Chamier et al.

by Maria von Chamier, Ayman Allam, Mary B. Brown, Mary K. Reinhard, Leticia Reyes

Ureaplasma parvum, an opportunistic pathogen of the human urogenital tract, has been implicated in contributing to chorioamnionitis, fetal morbidity, and fetal mortality. It has been proposed that the host genetic background is a critical factor in adverse pregnancy outcome as sequela to U. parvum intra-amniotic infection. To test this hypothesis we assessed the impact of intrauterine U. parvum infection in the prototypical TH1/M1 C57BL/6 and TH2/M2 BALB/c mouse strain. Sterile medium or U. parvum was inoculated into each uterine horn and animals were evaluated for intra-amniotic infection, fetal infection, chorioamnionitis and fetal pathology at 72 hours post-inoculation. Disease outcome was assessed by microbial culture, in situ detection of U. parvum in fetal and utero-placental tissues, grading of chorioamnionitis, and placental gene expression of IL-1a, IL-1ß, IL-6, TNF-a, S100A8, and S100A9. Placental infection and colonization rates were equivalent in both strains. The in situ distribution of U. parvum in placental tissues was also similar. However, a significantly greater proportion of BALB/c fetuses were infected (P<0.02). C57BL/6 infected animals predominantly exhibited mild to moderate chorioamnionitis (P<0.0001), and a significant reduction in placental expression of IL-1a, IL-1ß, IL-6, TNF-a, S100A8, and S100A9 compared to sham controls (P<0.02). Conversely, severe protracted chorioamnionitis with cellular necrosis was the predominant lesion phenotype in BALB/c mice, which also exhibited a significant increase in placental expression of IL-1a, IL-1ß, IL-6, TNF-a, S100A8, and S100A9 (P<0.01). Fetal pathology in BALB/c was multi-organ and included brain, lung, heart, liver, and intestine, whereas fetal pathology in C57BL/6 was only detected in the liver and intestines. These results confirm that the host genetic background is a major determinant in ureaplasmal induced chorioamnionitis with fetal infection and fetal inflammatory response.