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Foetal Ureaplasma parvum bacteraemia as a function of gestation-dependent complement insufficiency: Evidence from a sheep model of pregnancy

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posted on 2022-12-12, 16:37 authored by Matthew W. Kemp, Shatha Ahmed, Mike BeetonMike Beeton, Matthew S. Payne, Masatoshi Saitou, Yuichiro Miura, Haruo Usuda, Suhas G. Kallapur, Boris W. Kramer, Sarah J. Stock, Alan H. Jobe, John P. Newnham, Owen B. Spiller



Complement is a central defence against sepsis, and increasing complement insufficiency in neonates of greater prematurity may predispose to increased sepsis. Ureaplasma spp. are the most frequently cultured bacteria from preterm blood samples.

Method of study

A sheep model of intrauterine Ureaplasma parvum infection was used to examine in vivo Ureaplasma bacteraemia at early and late gestational ages. Complement function and Ureaplasma killing assays were used to determine the correlation between complement potency and bactericidal activity of sera ex vivo.


Ureaplasma was cultured from 50% of 95-day gestation lamb cord blood samples compared to 10% of 125-day gestation lambs. Bactericidal activity increased with increased gestational age, and a direct correlation between functional complement activity and bactericidal activity (R2=.86; P<.001) was found for 95-day gestational lambs.


Ureaplasma bacteraemia in vivo was confined to early preterm lambs with low complement function, but Ureaplasma infection itself did not diminish complement levels.


Published in

American Journal of Reproductive Immunology




  • AM (Accepted Manuscript)


Kemp, M.W., Ahmed, S., Beeton, M.L., Payne, M.S., Saito, M., Miura, Y., Usuda, H., Kallapur, S.G., Kramer, B.W., Stock, S.J. and Jobe, A.H. (2017) 'Foetal Ureaplasma parvum bacteraemia as a function of gestation‐dependent complement insufficiency: Evidence from a sheep model of pregnancy', American Journal of Reproductive Immunology, 77(1), p.e12599.

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Cardiff Met Affiliation

  • Cardiff School of Sport and Health Sciences

Cardiff Met Authors

Michael Beeton Mike Beeton

Cardiff Met Research Centre/Group

  • Microbiology & Infection

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