Urethral colonization by gram-negative enteric-bacilli, such as Escherichia coli, cause bacteriuria with no inflammation. The nonsexually transmitted diseases of the reproductive tract are usually caused by enteric organisms, e.g. E. coli, but can often be polymicrobial. The uropathogenic strains of E. coli possess pili that allow ready adherence to urogenital epithelial cells.
The mucosal surfaces which are exposed to the externa] environment are under a continual state of bacterial colonization. Local immunity is generated primarily by the secretory immune system and is characterized by the secretion of immunoglobulin (Ig) classes in levels different than in serum. The mucosal immune system of the reproductive tract has a different compartmentalization to that of other mucosal systems. In the genital mucosa there is a lack of organized tissue (i.e. Peyer's patches) and specialized cells (i.e. M cells). These differences in the construction of the local immune apparatus may account for the difficulty in generating local protective immunity against many reproductive tract pathogens. A better understanding of the local mucosal system in reproductive tract tissue will aid in the development of effective protective immune responses to the infections which predominate in the reproductive tract.
See also: Acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS); Candida, infection and immunity; Chlamydia, infection and immunity; Cytomegalovirus, infection and immunity; Epstein-Barr virus, infection and immunity; Escherichia coli, infection and immunity;
Herpes simplex virus, infection and immunity; IgA; Immunodeficiency, primary; Mucosal immunity; Mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue (MALT); Mycoplasma, infection and immunity; Neisseria, infection and immunity; Opportunistic infections; Papillomavirus, infection and immunity; Treponema, infection and immunity; Urinary tract infections.
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