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Infectious Diseases in Obstetrics and Gynecology
Volume 1, Issue 6, Pages 275-281
Clinical Study

Genital Mycoplasmas in Placental Infections

1Laboratoire de Microbiologie Clinique, Hôpital de la Conception, Marseille, France
2Service de Gynécologie-Obstétriqe, Hôpital de la Conception, Marseille, France
3Faculté de Médecine, Unité des Rickettsies, 27 Boulevard Jean Moulin, Marseille 13385, France

Received 2 February 1994; Accepted 12 May 1994

Copyright © 1994 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Objective: The involvement of the genital mycoplasmas Ureaplasma urealyticum and Mycoplasma hominis in complications of pregnancy has remained controversial especially because these microorganisms are frequent colonizers of the lower genital tract. Recovery of bacteria from the placenta appears to be the sole technique to represent a true infection and not vaginal contamination. Therefore, we investigated the presence of genital mycoplasmas, aerobic and anaerobic bacteria, and fungi in human placentas and evaluated their association with morbidity and mortality of pregnancy.

Methods: We cultured placentas from 82 women with complicated pregnancies. One hundred placentas from women with uncomplicated pregnancies were evaluated as controls. When possible, placentas were examined histologically for presence of chorioamnionitis.

Results: Microorganisms were recovered from 52% of the placentas of complicated pregnancies and U. urealyticum was the microorganism isolated most frequently from the placenta. A significant association between positive mycoplasma culture of the placenta and complication of pregnancy was found, and chorioamnionitis was positively related to isolation of mycoplasmas.

Conclusions: These data suggest that genital mycoplasmas are able to infect the human placenta where they can cause chorioamnionitis. This infection of the placenta by genital mycoplasmas is related to preterm birth and fatal outcome of pregnancy.