Chlamydia trachomatis as a risk factor for infertility in women and men, and ovarian tumor development

University dissertation from Umeå : Klinisk vetenskap

Abstract: Background: Chlamydia trachomatis in women is a risk factor for tubal factor infertility and extra uterine pregnancies, but the impact of a C. trachomatis infection on male fertility is unclear. It is also hypothesized that persistent infection with C. trachomatis, or other microorganisms, might initiate/promote ovarian tumor development. The aims of the thesis were to study whether C. trachomatis serum antibodies in women and men had an impact on infertility diagnoses, semen characteristics, pregnancy rates and pregnancy outcomes; furthermore, to explore associations of C. trachomatis, and Mycoplasma genitalium, plasma antibodies with epithelial ovarian cancer and borderline ovarian tumors, as well as the presence of C. trachomatis bacteria, and other microorganisms, in ovarian tissues.Materials and methods: Papers I and II: 244/226 infertile couples were tested for serum C. trachomatis IgG, IgA, IgM and chlamydial Heat Shock Protein 60 (cHSP60) IgG antibodies. C. trachomatis IgG positive couples were also tested for C. trachomatis DNA in a urine sample. The follow-up period was 14-54 months. 244 spontaneously pregnant women were also tested for serum C. trachomatis IgG antibodies. Papers III and IV: Plasma samples from 291 women with epithelial ovarian cancer, borderline ovarian tumors and benign conditions, and plasma samples from 271 healthy controls, were analyzed for C. trachomatis IgG, IgA and cHSP60-1 IgG and M. genitalium IgG antibodies. Ovarian tissues from 186 women with benign ovaries, borderline ovarian tumors and epithelial ovarian cancer, as well as tissues from the contra lateral ovary in 126 women, were analyzed for the presence of C. trachomatis, M. genitalium, Neisseria gonorrhoeae, HPV and the polyoma viruses BKV and JCV with nucleic acid amplification tests. Results: Papers I and II: The prevalence of C. trachomatis IgG antibodies was higher among infertile than fertile women, and there were 9 couples with ongoing C. trachomatis infections. In men, C. trachomatis IgG and IgA antibodies were associated with a reduced likelihood to achieve pregnancy for the couple, as well as lower sperm concentration, reduced sperm motility and vitality, increased teratozoospermia index and the occurrence of leukocytes. C. trachomatis IgG and cHSP60 IgG antibodies in infertile women were associated with tubal factor infertility, but not with reduced pregnancy rates or outcomes. Paper III: cHSP60-1 IgG antibodies were associated with ovarian cancer belonging to the postulated type II pathogenetic pathway when plasma samples obtained more than one year prior to diagnosis were analyzed. M. genitalium IgG antibodies were associated with borderline ovarian tumors; however a statistical type 1 error cannot be excluded. Paper IV: None of the microorganisms studied were found in the ovarian tissue samples.Conclusions: C. trachomatis IgG and IgA antibodies in the man substantially decreases the chances of the infertile couple to achieve pregnancy, and are associated with subtle negative changes in semen characteristics. C. trachomatis IgG and cHSP60 IgG antibodies in the woman are risk factors for tubal factor infertility. Prospective plasma cHSP60-1 IgG antibodies are associated with type II ovarian carcinomas, but C. trachomatis bacteria, or the other microorganisms studied, could not be detected in benign, borderline or malignant ovarian tissues.