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Maternal administration of erythromycin fails to eradicate intrauterine ureaplasma infection in an ovine model

By Samantha J. Dando, Ilias Nitsos, John P. Newnham, Alan H. Jobe, Timothy J.M. Moss and Christine L. Knox


Erythromycin is the standard antibiotic used for treatment of Ureaplasma species during 3 pregnancy; however, maternally administered erythromycin may be ineffective at eliminating 4 intra-amniotic ureaplasma infections. We asked if erythromycin would eradicate intra-amniotic 5 ureaplasma infections in pregnant sheep. At 50 days of gestation (d, term=150d) pregnant ewes 6 received intra-amniotic injections of erythromycin-sensitive U. parvum serovar 3 (n=16) or 10B 7 medium (n=16). At 100d, amniocentesis was performed; five fetal losses (ureaplasma group: 8 n=4; 10B group: n=1) had occurred by this time. Remaining ewes were allocated into treatment 9 subgroups: medium only (M, n=7); medium and erythromycin (M/E, n=8); ureaplasma only (Up, 10 n=6) or ureaplasma and erythromycin (Up/E, n=6). Erythromycin was administered intra11\ud muscularly (500 mg), eight-hourly for four days (100d-104d). Amniotic fluid samples were 12 collected at 105d. At 125d preterm fetuses were surgically delivered and specimens were 13 collected for culture and histology. Erythromycin was quantified in amniotic fluid by liquid\ud 14 chromatography-mass spectrometry. Ureaplasmas were isolated from the amniotic fluid, 15 chorioamnion and fetal lung of animals from the Up and Up/E groups, however, the numbers of 16 U. parvum recovered were not different between these groups. Inflammation in the 17 chorioamnion, cord and fetal lung was increased in ureaplasma-exposed animals compared to 18 controls, but was not different between the Up and Up/E groups. Erythromycin was detected in\ud 19 amniotic fluid samples, although concentrations were low (<10-76 ng/mL). This study 20 demonstrates that maternally administered erythromycin does not eradicate chronic, intra- amniotic ureaplasma infections or improve fetal outcomes in an ovine model, potentially due to 22 the poor placental passage of erythromycin

Topics: 110300 CLINICAL SCIENCES, 110800 MEDICAL MICROBIOLOGY, 111400 PAEDIATRICS AND REPRODUCTIVE MEDICINE, microbiology, placenta, placental transport, pregnancy
Publisher: Society for the Study of Reproduction, Inc.
Year: 2010
DOI identifier: 10.1095/biolreprod.110.084954
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