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Med Microbiol Immunol. 2012 Feb;201(1):113-6. doi: 10.1007/s00430-011-0205-2. Epub 2011 Jun 10.

High detection rate of Trichomonas vaginalis in benign hyperplastic prostatic tissue.

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Ludwig Boltzmann Cluster of Urology, Department of Urology, Medical University Vienna, Vienna, Austria.


While Trichomonas vaginalis, a protozoan parasite, is a well-investigated pathogen in the female population, there is little awareness of its significance in the male uro-genital tract. The presence of T. vaginalis in the prostate gland has only been scarcely investigated and has never been attested in conditions other than clinical prostatitis. Still, by some authors, this organ is regarded as ecologic niche for T. vaginalis. Since normal prostate tissue of sufficient quality is hard to come by, we investigated samples from 86 patients (mean age 68.7 ± 7.6 years) suffering from benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), a medical condition currently ranked as noninfectious, but characterized by chronic inflammatory tissue infiltrates of unknown etiology. Applying two different PCR protocols and sequence analysis of the respective amplicons, we detected T. vaginalis DNA in 29/86 (34%) BPH tissue samples, whereas in only 2/86 (2.3%) cases T. vaginalis grew in culture. Detection of T. vaginalis DNA correlated significantly (P < 0.01) with elevated peripheral blood monocytic cell counts, appearing along with protozoan infections. Given the unexpected high prevalence of T. vaginalis in BPH tissue of a nonselected, elderly study population from Austria, further epidemiological studies have to confirm this finding. Potential interactions of T. vaginalis in its prostatic habitat may be investigated with respect to their possible contribution to the inflammatory pathogenesis of BPH, since inflammatory cytokines have been shown to sustain prostatic hyperplastic growth.

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