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Infect Dis Obstet Gynecol. 2010;2010. pii: 521921. doi: 10.1155/2010/521921. Epub 2010 Jul 12.

Mycoplasma, Ureaplasma, and adverse pregnancy outcomes: a fresh look.

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Iowa Center for Translational and Clinical Research, Mercy Medical Center, Des Moines University, Des Moines, IA 50312, USA.


Recent work on the Molicutes that associate with genital tract tissues focuses on four species that may be of interest in potential maternal, fetal, and neonatal infection and in contributing to adverse pregnancy outcomes. Mycoplasma hominis and Ureaplasma urealyticum have historically been the subject of attention, but Mycoplasma genitalis which causes male urethritis in addition to colonizing the female genital tract and the division of Ureaplasma into two species, urealyticum and parvum, has also added new taxonomic clarity. The role of these genital tract inhabitants in infection during pregnancy and their ability to invade and infect placental and fetal tissue is discussed. In particular, the role of some of these organisms in prematurity may be mechanistically related to their ability to induce inflammatory cytokines, thereby triggering pathways leading to preterm labor. A review of this intensifying exploration of the mycoplasmas in relation to pregnancy yields several questions which will be important to examine in future research.

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