Objective Most women with Chlamydia trachomatis (CT) infection are asymptomatic, while ∼3% progress to pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) within two weeks of untreated infection. The identification of biomarkers that predict development of PID would aid in identification of women at risk for complications of infertility and ectopic pregnancy. The specific aim of this study was to identify a whole blood transcript signature for acute PID due to chlamydial infection.
Methods We performed gene expression microarrays using whole blood from 79 women who had a gynecologic exam, and cervical and endometrial microbiologic testing. Samples were divided into five groups: Group 1, women with acute PID who were CT+ at endometrium (PID+, CT+, and E+); Group 2, asymptomatic women who were CT+ at endometrium (PID-, CT+, E+); Group 3, asymptomatic women who were CT+ at cervix (PID-, CT+, E-); Group 4, asymptomatic women who were CT- at cervix and endometrium (PID-, CT-, E-); Group 5, women with symptoms of PID who were negative for CT or other sexually transmitted pathogens (PID+, STI-, E-).
Results We identified a transcript signature that discriminated women with chlamydial PID from all other groups. Pathway analysis revealed that the chlamydial PID signature contained genes from interferon response pathways. Gene transcription in a subset of women with chlamydial endometrial infection clustered with women with chlamydial PID.
Conclusions Our study raises the possibility that transcriptional biomarkers with potential as diagnostic and prognostic tools can be identified to combat chlamydial reproductive tract disease in women.
- pelvic inflammatory disease