Cervical epithelial damage promotes Ureaplasma parvum ascending infection, intrauterine inflammation and preterm birth induction in mice

Ioannis Pavlidis*, Owen B. Spiller, Gabriella Sammut Demarco, Heather MacPherson, Sarah E.M. Howie, Jane E. Norman, Sarah J. Stock

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)
43 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Around 40% of preterm births are attributed to ascending intrauterine infection, and Ureaplasma parvum (UP) is commonly isolated in these cases. Here we present a mouse model of ascending UP infection that resembles human disease, using vaginal inoculation combined with mild cervical injury induced by a common spermicide (Nonoxynol-9, as a surrogate for any mechanism of cervical epithelial damage). We measure bacterial load in a non-invasive manner using a luciferase-expressing UP strain, and post-mortem by qPCR and bacterial titration. Cervical exposure to Nonoxynol-9, 24 h pre-inoculation, facilitates intrauterine UP infection, upregulates pro-inflammatory cytokines, and increases preterm birth rates from 13 to 28%. Our results highlight the crucial role of the cervical epithelium as a barrier against ascending infection. In addition, we expect the mouse model will facilitate further research on the potential links between UP infection and preterm birth.

Original languageEnglish
Article number199 (2020)
Number of pages12
JournalNature Communications
Volume11
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jan 2020

Keywords

  • Bacterial infection
  • Bacterial pathogenesis
  • Pathogens

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