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J Clin Microbiol. 1996 Feb;34(2):286-91.

Isolation of Mycoplasma genitalium strains from the male urethra.

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Neisseria Department, Statens Seruminstitut, Copenhagen S, Denmark.


Mycoplasma genitalium is a human mycoplasma species which, on the basis of detection by PCR, has been incriminated as a cause of nongonococcal urethritis. Previously, only two strains from the urogenital tract and five strains from extragenital sites have been isolated. We have developed a method for the isolation of this fastidious microbe. M. genitalium from PCR-positive urethral specimens was initially propagated in Vero cell cultures grown in serum-free medium supplemented with Ultroser HY serum substitute. Growth was monitored by PCR. The M. genitalium strains grown in cell cultures could subsequently be subcultured in modified Friis's FF broth medium. Several passages in broth medium were required before growth on agar medium was attained. A total of 11 urethral specimens positive for M. genitalium by PCR from male patients with urethritis were investigated. Six strains were adapted to growth in broth medium, and four of these strains were cloned. Three specimens were overgrown by other mycoplasmas during propagation in the cell cultures. In only two PCR-positive specimens was propagation of M. genitalium unsuccessful. The use of cell culture combined with PCR monitoring of mycoplasmal growth may prove to be more widely applicable for the isolation of other fastidious mollicutes.

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