Endometrial leukocyte subpopulations associated with Chlamydia trachomatis, Neisseria gonorrhoeae, and Trichomonas vaginalis genital tract infection

Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2011 Oct;205(4):324.e1-7. doi: 10.1016/j.ajog.2011.05.031. Epub 2011 May 20.


Objective: The objective of the study was to characterize endometrial inflammation associated with common genital tract pathogens.

Study design: The design of the study was the immunohistochemical characterization of the endometrial leukocyte subpopulations from 37 controls and 45 women infected with Chlamydia trachomatis, Neisseria gonorrhoeae, or Trichomonas vaginalis.

Results: Compared with uninfected women, endocervical infection with C trachomatis, N gonorrhoeae, or T vaginalis was associated with significant increases in endometrial T cells, B cells, plasma cells, and polymorphonuclear leukocytes. Even more substantial increases in T cell, B cell, and plasma cell numbers were detected among women infected endocervically and endometrially with C trachomatis.

Conclusion: Because lower genital tract C trachomatis, N gonorrhoeae, or T vaginalis infections were associated with comparable increases in the same endometrial leukocyte subpopulations, our results suggest the underappreciated involvement of T vaginalis in upper genital tract inflammatory processes. The more robust inflammatory infiltrate associated with C trachomatis endometrial ascension may offer insight into host inflammatory responses associated with pelvic inflammatory disease development.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Chlamydia Infections / immunology*
  • Chlamydia trachomatis*
  • Endometrium / cytology
  • Endometrium / immunology*
  • Female
  • Gonorrhea / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Leukocytes*
  • Reproductive Tract Infections / immunology*
  • Trichomonas Vaginitis