Women who have had chlamydia are more likely to have ectopic pregnancies, scientists have discovered.
A research team from the University of Edinburgh found that women who had contracted the sexually transmitted infection (STI) were more likely to produce the protein PROKR2 in their Fallopian tubes, which can make an embryo implant outside the womb.
It is the first time that scientists have been able to establish a link between chlamydia and an increased risk of an ectopic pregnancy.
The study, which was published in the American Journal of Pathology and funded by the Wellbeing of Women and the Medical Research Council, follows previous research by the university which showed that production of a similar protein increased the likelihood of smokers having an ectopic pregnancy.
Chlamydia, which is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the UK, is treatable but often goes undiagnosed because it does not always develop symptoms in those who are infected.
The infection is known to cause infertility as it can lead to scarring and blockages in the Fallopian tube.
This new research shows chlamydial infection linked to ectopic pregnancy also causes much more subtle changes in the Fallopian tube, without evidence of severe scarring.
- Chlamydia trachomatis Infection Increases Fallopian Tube PROKR2 via TLR2 and NFκB Activation Resulting in a Microenvironment Predisposed to Ectopic Pregnancy