University of Oulu

Chronic chlamydial infection: impact on human reproductive health : reproductive health research in the Northern Finland 1966 Birth Cohort (NFBC 1966)

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Author: Karinen, Liisa1,2,3
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology
2University of Oulu, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health Science and General Practice
3National Public Health Institute, Oulu
Format: ebook
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.8 MB)
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Language: English
Published: 2006
Publish Date: 2006-03-21
Thesis type: Doctoral Dissertation
Defence Note: Academic Dissertation to be presented with the assent of the Faculty of Medicine, University of Oulu, for public discussion in the Auditorium 4 of Oulu University Hospital, on March 31st, 2006, at 12 noon
Reviewer: Docent Anna Alanen
Docent Mirja Puolakkainen


Chlamydiae are obligatory intracellular gram-negative bacteria with a unique growth cycle. They are very successful pathogens and responsible for a wide variety infections in humans and different animal species. In addition, they have a tendency to cause recurrent, persistent or chronic infections with potentially severe sequelae years or decades later.

The general purpose of this work was to study the possible serological associations between chronic chlamydial infection, systemic inflammation and reproductive health in a general population. The chlamydial heat shock proteins 60 and 10 (Hs10 and Hsp60) have been suggested to contribute to the pathogenesis of chronic chlamydial infections. Thus, the antibodies to chlamydial Hsp10 and Hsp60 were also investigated in complications of pregnancy.

The present study was a longitudinal population-based birth cohort study, and all of the original papers of this dissertation are based on a nested case - control design.

Our results confirmed the serological association between C. trachomatis infections and subfertility and the rather high incidence of undiagnosed C. trachomatis infections in the male partners of subfertile couples. We further demonstrated a serological association between previous C. trachomatis infections, immunity to chlamydial Hsps and female subfertility. We also showed that serological markers of chronic chlamydial infection present as early as the first trimester are associated with preterm delivery among nulliparous women. When elevated levels of C. trachomatis IgG and hsCRP were present, the estimated risk for preterm delivery was over 4-fold.

According to our study, nulliparous women who subsequently developed preeclampsia leading to preterm delivery, which was used as a marker of more serious illness, had significantly more often serum IgG antibodies to C. pneumoniae during the first trimester of pregnancy compared to the preeclamptic women who delivered at term.

In conclusion, chronic C. trachomatis infection was found to associate with subfertility both in men and in women. In addition, a subclinical chronic inflammatory process associated at least partly with chronic C. trachomatis infection and present in the first trimester already may be important in the development of preterm delivery. Chronic C. pneumoniae infection and systemic low-grade inflammation were found to associate with pregnancies that lead to preeclampsia and preterm delivery.

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Series: Acta Universitatis Ouluensis. D, Medica
ISSN-E: 1796-2234
ISBN: 951-42-8022-9
ISBN Print: 951-42-8021-0
Issue: 872
Copyright information: © University of Oulu, 2006. This publication is copyrighted. You may download, display and print it for your own personal use. Commercial use is prohibited.