PURPOSE: Mycoplasma is an important mucosal pathogen of the respiratory and urogenital tracts in humans. The goal of this study was to determine the identity of Mycoplasma species in the bronchial lavage fluid [BAL] of pediatric patients with chronic respiratory diseases.
METHODS: In this study BAL fluid obtained with fiberoptic bronchoscopy technique from 295 pediatric patients diagnosed with an array of chronic respiratory diseases were examined for the presence of M. genitalium, M. hominis, and M. pneumoniae, using species-specific primers.
RESULTS: This study examined 160 males and 135 females (average age of 8 years old). Using 16S primers from a commercial kit we confirmed that 101/295 [34.2%] patient samples were positive for the presence of Mycoplasma DNA. PCR analysis using species-specific primers also revealed that 30/101 [29.7%] Mycoplasma 16s positive patient samples contained M. pneumoniae DNA; 12/101 [11.8%] samples were positive for the presence M. hominis DNA, and 27/101 [26.7%] harbored M. genitalium DNA. Multiple Mycoplasma species were detected in the respiratory tract of 13 [12.8%] patients, while 46/101 [45.5%] 16S positive patient samples contained unidentified Mycoplasma species. While M. pneumoniae had an even distribution over the entire age range (age 0–18yrs), M. hominis and M. genitalium were significantly more prevalent in the 0 to 5 age range (10/12 and 17/27 respectively).
CONCLUSION: BAL fluids obtained from pediatric patients with chronic respiratory conditions often harbor Mycoplasma organisms. Mycoplasma was detected more often in asthmatic than non-asthmatic patients. Importantly, M. pneumoniae was present in only one third of the patients harboring Mycoplasma organisms in this cohort.
CLINICAL IMPLICATIONS: Mycoplasma species may be significant participants in the pathogenesis of chronic respiratory diseases in children, including asthma. Our data also indicate that in addition to M. pneumoniae other members of the Mycoplasma genus may play significant roles in chronic respiratory conditions and should be given due consideration in diagnosis and treatment regimen.
DISCLOSURE: Katir Patel, No Financial Disclosure Information; No Product/Research Disclosure Information