Urogenital challenge of primate species with Mycoplasma genitalium and characteristics of infection induced in chimpanzees

J Infect Dis. 1986 Jun;153(6):1046-54. doi: 10.1093/infdis/153.6.1046.


Eighteen male and eight female primates, representing five subhuman species, were inoculated urogenitally with Mycoplasma genitalium, a microorganism recovered from men with nongonococcal urethritis. Male rhesus (Macaca mulatta) and cynomolgus (Macaca fascicularis) monkeys apparently were resistant. Female squirrel monkeys (Saimiri sciureus) and female tamarins (Saguinus mystax) exhibited low-level, genital-tract infections. Male chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) developed an obvious genital-tract infection, with some shedding organisms for 21 weeks. M. genitalium was recovered from the blood of two of the male chimpanzees, usually when large numbers of organisms were in the urethra. Female chimpanzees generally shed organisms for 12-15 weeks. Most chimpanzees colonized with the organism exhibited increased numbers of polymorphonuclear leukocytes in the genital tract and developed a significant antibody response. The results offer substantial evidence for the pathogenicity of M. genitalium for the urogenital tract of higher primates and suggest the microorganism may have a role in human genital-tract infections.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Female
  • Genital Diseases, Female / microbiology
  • Genital Diseases, Female / veterinary
  • Genital Diseases, Male / microbiology
  • Genital Diseases, Male / veterinary
  • Macaca / microbiology
  • Male
  • Mycoplasma / pathogenicity*
  • Mycoplasma Infections / microbiology
  • Mycoplasma Infections / veterinary*
  • Pan troglodytes / microbiology
  • Primates / microbiology*
  • Species Specificity
  • Urogenital System / microbiology*