Integrated morphologic and molecular analysis of Trichomonas vaginalis, Mycoplasma hominis, and human papillomavirus using cytologic smear preparations

I. Nikas, A. Hapfelmeier, M. Mollenhauer, D. Angermeier, M. Bettstetter, R. Götz, M. Schmidmayr, V. Seifert-Klauss, A. Muckenhuber, U. Schenck, Gregor Weirich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations

Abstract

Pathogenic microbes may colonize the female genital tract via sexual transmission and cause health issues like inflammation or malignancy, summarized as sexually transmitted disease (STD). A major representative of such pathogens is Trichomonas vaginalis (T.v.), whose role in the etiology of cervical cancer remains elusive. Traditional morphologic screening of cervical smears is able to detect T.v., although its identification may be complicated by look-alikes such as degenerated granulocytes and basal cells. In addition, the parasite’s endosymbiont Mycoplasma hominis (M.h.) cannot be detected in the Pap test. This investigation was aimed at designing a PCR-based method to detect specific pathogenic germs by using cervical cytology slides to overcome morphologic uncertainty and increase diagnostic accuracy. To test our molecular screening method on T.v., M.h., and HPV in archival smears, we elaborated a multiplex PCR approach based on microdissection. This assay was applied to a minute quantity of starting material which harbored or was suspected to harbor T.v.; the resulting isolated DNA was used for subsequent molecular analyses of T.v., M.h., and HPV. We clarified the diagnosis of genital T.v. infection in 88 and 1.8% of morphologically suspicious and T.v.-negative cases, respectively. We also revealed a tendency of M.h. co-infection in high-risk HPV cases. In conclusion, a microdissection-based approach to detect pathogenic microbes such as T.v., HPV, and M.h. is a molecular tool easy to implement and may help to better understand the interactivity of these germs with respect to pathogenesis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1443-1451
Number of pages9
JournalParasitology Research
Volume117
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 May 2018

Keywords

  • Cervical cancer
  • High-risk HPV
  • Microdissection
  • Multiplex PCR
  • Pap test
  • Screening

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