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PLoS One. 2018 Mar 22;13(3):e0194827. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0194827. eCollection 2018.

Urine metabolome in women with Chlamydia trachomatis infection.

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Microbiology, DIMES, University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy.
Centre of Foodomics, Department of Agro-Food Science and Technology, University of Bologna, Cesena, Italy.
Dermatology, DIMES, University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy.


The aim of this study was to characterize the urine metabolome of women with Chlamydia trachomatis (CT) uro-genital infection (n = 21), comparing it with a group of CT-negative subjects (n = 98). By means of a proton-based nuclear magnetic resonance (1H-NMR) spectroscopy, we detected and quantified the urine metabolites of a cohort of 119 pre-menopausal Caucasian women, attending a STI Outpatients Clinic in Italy. In case of a CT positive result, CT molecular genotyping was performed by omp1 gene semi-nested PCR followed by RFLP analysis. We were able to identify several metabolites whose concentrations were significantly higher in the urine samples of CT-positive subjects, including sucrose, mannitol, pyruvate and lactate. In contrast, higher urinary levels of acetone represented the main feature of CT-negative women. These results were not influenced by the age of patients nor by the CT serovars (D, E, F, G, K) responsible of the urethral infections. Since the presence of sugars can increase the stability of chlamydial proteins, higher levels of sucrose and mannitol in the urethral lumen, related to a higher sugar consumption, could have favoured CT infection acquisition or could have been of aid for the bacterial viability. Peculiar dietary habits of the subjects enrolled, in term of type and amount of food consumed, could probably explain these findings. Lactate and pyruvate could result from CT-induced immunopathology, as a product of the inflammatory microenvironment. Further studies are needed to understand the potential role of these metabolites in the pathogenesis of CT infection, as well as their diagnostic/prognostic use.

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