Ureaplasma urealyticum (U. urealytcum) belongs to the bacteria family Mycoplasmataceae (also known as mycoplasma). It is a small bacterium that can be found in urogenital tracts of humans. U. urealyticum stains negative due to the lack of cell wall. The bacterium grows in the cervix, vagina or urethra and spread through sexual contact. It can exist as normal commensal flora in the reproductive tract, especially in women. About 70% of sexual active men and women are thought to be affected by U. urealyticum. It may causes prostatitis in men, or pelvic inflammatory disease in women. However, U. urealyticum does not cause any symptoms in most cases.
U. urealyticum is thought to be one of the smallest organisms whose size range from 150nm to 250 nm. Due to the lack of cell wall, U. urealyticum individuals are highly pleomorphic. U. urealyticum cells are bound by a "unite membrane" that is triple-layered. This "unite membrane" contains a sterol which causes the Gram-negative staining of U. urealyticum. The bacterium can reproduce in cell-free media, but require cholesterol to make the tripl-layered "unite membrane". Because of the lack of cell wall, U. urealyticum are resistant to penicillin completely, but are inhibited by tetracycline and erythromycin.
Fig.2 Testicular section from U. urealyticum -infected rat stained by HE
Transmission of U. urealyticum can be achieved through various ways, including direct sexual transmission, vertically transmission from mother to offspring, and hospital-acquired infections. Symptoms for U. urealyticum vary from person to person. In most cases no symptom is caused at all. Common symptoms associated with this bacterium include infertility, pelvic pain, recurrent pregnancy loss, premenstrual symptoms (PMS), uterine infection... etc. Other possible symptoms include chronic sore throat, gall stones, kidney stones, blindness, red itchy eyes, chronic fatigue, headaches...etc. Infection of this bacterium may also cause fertility problems such as tubal disease, decreased sperm motility, and recurrent miscarriages.
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