BACKGROUND: Chlamydia trachomatis causes pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) and tubal infertility. Pgp3 antibody (Pgp3Ab) detects prior chlamydial infections. We evaluated for an association of high chlamydial seropositivity with sequelae using a Pgp3Ab multiplex bead array (Pgp3AbMBA).
METHODS: We performed chlamydia Pgp3AbMBA on sera from women 18-39 years old participating in the 2013-2016 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) with urine chlamydia nucleic acid amplification test results. High chlamydial seropositivity was defined as a median fluorescence intensity (MFI ≥ 50,000; low-positive was MFI > 551-<50,000. Weighted US population high-positive, low-positive, and negative Pgp3Ab chlamydia seroprevalence and 95% confidence intervals (95% CI) were compared for women with chlamydial infection, self-reported PID, and infertility.
RESULTS: Of 2,339 women aged 18-39 years, 1,725 (73.7%) had sera and 1,425 were sexually experienced. Overall, 104 women had high positive Pgp3Ab (5.4% [95% CI 4.0-7.0] of US women); 407 had low positive Pgp3Ab (25.1% [95% CI 21.5-29.0]), and 914 had negative Pgp3Ab (69.5% [95% CI 65.5-73.4]).Among women with high Pgp3Ab, infertility prevalence was 2.0 (95% CI 1.1-3.7) times higher than among Pgp3Ab-negative women (19.6% [95% CI 10.5-31.7] versus 9.9% [95% CI 7.7-12.4]). For women with low Pgp3Ab, PID prevalence was 7.9% (95% CI 4.6-12.6) compared to 2.3% (95% CI 1.4-3.6) in negative Pgp3Ab.
CONCLUSIONS: High chlamydial Pgp3Ab seropositivity was associated with infertility although small sample size limited evaluation of an association of high seropositivity with PID. In infertile women, Pgp3Ab may be a marker of prior chlamydial infection.