Mycoplasma genitalium can modulate the local immune response in patients with endometriosis

Mycoplasma genitalium may play a key role in the immune tolerance process and, especially, the aggravation of this profile.

Volume 109, Issue 3, Pages 549–560.e4


Guilherme B. Campos, Ph.D., Lucas M. Marques, Ph.D., Izadora S. Rezende, M.Sc., Maysa S. Barbosa, M.Sc., Mauricio S. Abrão, M.D., Jorge Timenetsky, Ph.D.



To detect Mollicutes in women with endometriosis and healthy peritoneal tissues and evaluate the participation of these bacteria in the immune response during endometriosis.


Cross-sectional study.


University hospitals.

Patient (s)

Women with endometriosis (n = 73) and without endometriosis (n = 31).


Endocervical swabs, peritoneal fluid, and biopsied lesions of endometriosis of women with endometriosis (study group) and healthy peritoneal tissues (control group) were collected during surgery. Clinical characteristics were registered before surgery.

Main Outcome Measure(s)

We determined the infectious agents with the use of quantitative polymerase chain reaction (PCR). The cytokine secretion profile was determined with the use of Luminex. The expression of immune response related genes was determined with the use of a PCR array kit.


All target microorganisms were detected at least once in the swab samples analyzed. It was possible to observe higher diversity of microorganisms in the samples of swab and peritoneal fluid in the study group compared with the control. Ureaplasma parvum was associated with the severity of the symptom dyspareunia. Mycoplasma genitalium was associated with higher production of interferon-γ and interleukin-1β. Genes of inflammatory response activation and antigen presentation were up-regulated in biopsied tissue of women with endometriosis. In women with endometriosis, peritoneal fluid cells showed a down-regulation of genes associated with the inflammatory response. This down-regulation profile was higher in presence of M. genitalium.


Mycoplasma genitalium may play a key role in the immune tolerance process and, especially, the aggravation of this profile. More studies are needed to understand this immune tolerance profile of bacterial infections.

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