Development and evaluation of different laboratory tools for the study of the pathogenic potential of Ureaplasma species in pregnancy.

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


Ureaplasma species are present in 40-80% of sexually mature women as a
commensal in the lower genital tract. In some cases Ureaplasma infection
can cause adverse pregnancy outcome. Much controversy remains about the
role of Ureaplasma spp. in reproductive disorders. The high degree of
colonisation without complications hampers the research for pathogenic
The aim of this study was to search for cofactors important in pathogenicity
and to develop laboratory methods that could be used in Ureaplasma
pathogenicity studies.
Recombinant antigens of Ureaplasma parvum serotypes 3 and 6 were
produced in order to study the maternal antibody response against
Ureaplasma, a marker to be used in future studies on the prediction of
adverse pregnancy outcome.
We found that the presence an abnormal vaginal flora could act as a cofactor
for the pathogenic effect of Ureaplasma in preterm delivery. Using a realtime
PCR enabling species differentiation, we found a relation between an
abnormal vaginal flora and Ureaplasma urealyticum, indicating a possible
higher pathogenic potential as compared to Ureaplasma parvum.
Ureaplasma colonisation was shown to be constant along the pregnancy and
vaginal samples have the highest detection rate compared to other genital
sampling sites.
Additional studies are necessary to determine the best parameters for the
prediction of women with a high risk on adverse pregnancy outcome due to
Ureaplasma infection.
Date of Award21 Dec 2016
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Vrije Universiteit Brussel
SupervisorAnne Naessens (Promotor), Denis Pierard (Jury), Ingrid Wybo (Jury), Leonardo Gucciardo (Jury), Cécile Bébéar (Jury) & Patrick De Scheemaeker (Promotor)


  • Ureaplasma
  • pregnancy

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