Chronic intrauterine and fetal infection with Gardnerella vaginalis

Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2002 Nov;187(5):1263-6. doi: 10.1067/mob.2002.127129.


Objective: We sought to develop a model of chronic intrauterine and fetal infection with Gardnerella vaginalis.

Study design: The uterine horns of pregnant New Zealand White rabbits were inoculated on day 21 of gestation with either 10(7) colony-forming units (cfu) of G vaginalis or saline solution. At necropsy, cultures were taken from blood, uterus, amniotic fluid, and fetal tissues. Amniotic fluid was assayed for tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha by bioassay. Maternal and fetal tissue samples were evaluated using the histologic index score. A P value <.05 was considered significant.

Results: Compared with saline solution-inoculated animals, the G vaginalis group had significantly more positive cultures from uterus, amniotic fluid, and fetal brain and lung (P =.02 to <.01). For the G vaginalis group, mean TNF-alpha levels and fetal brain scores increased significantly over time (P <.001 for both).

Conclusion: Chronic intrauterine and fetal infection with G vaginalis is accompanied by progressive increases in amniotic fluid TNF-alpha concentrations and fetal brain histologic index scores.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amniotic Fluid / metabolism
  • Amniotic Fluid / microbiology
  • Animals
  • Bacterial Infections / complications*
  • Bacterial Infections / metabolism
  • Bacterial Infections / pathology
  • Brain / embryology
  • Brain / microbiology
  • Brain / pathology
  • Chronic Disease
  • Female
  • Fetal Diseases / metabolism
  • Fetal Diseases / microbiology*
  • Fetal Diseases / pathology
  • Fetus / microbiology
  • Fetus / pathology
  • Gardnerella vaginalis* / isolation & purification
  • Osmolar Concentration
  • Pregnancy
  • Rabbits
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / metabolism
  • Uterine Diseases / metabolism
  • Uterine Diseases / microbiology*
  • Uterus / microbiology


  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha