Bacterial etiology for chronic villitis is not supported by polymerase chain reaction for 16S rRNA DNA

Linda M. Ernst*, Jill Crouch, Henry Rinder, John Greg Howe

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Chronic villitis is characterized by chorionic villi infiltrated by lymphocytes, histiocytes, and sometimes plasma cells. In a small percentage of cases, an infectious agent can be demonstrated within areas of chronic villitis. However, the pathogenesis of most lesions is idiopathic. Chronic villitis may represent the direct spread of chronic endometrial infection by bacterial organisms that are particularly problematic for culture. To test this hypothesis, polymerase chain reaction (PCR) using primers for the universal bacterial 16S rRNA DNA was performed on DNA extracted from areas of chronic villitis selected from placentas in the Yale Pathology database. Specific areas of chronic villitis were first confirmed by examination of sections stained with hematoxylin and eosin and then removed from archived paraffin blocks. Control tissue spiked with known bacterial counts was also prepared to test the sensitivity of the experiment. All tissue was deparaffinized, dehydrated, and digested with proteinase K. DNA extraction was performed with the Gentra Puregene kit. PCR was done using primers p11 and p13 for the 16S rRNA DNA. The 233-bp amplified target product was identified by agarose gel electrophoresis. Nineteen specimens with multifocal chronic villitis without confinement to anchoring villi were studied. None of the chronic villitis specimens had a demonstrable product using the PCR primers for 16S rRNA DNA, despite adequate DNA in the samples and controls. The assay was sensitive down to approximately 1500 bacteria per specimen. In conclusion, these data do not support a bacterial etiology for chronic villitis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)647-653
Number of pages7
JournalPediatric and Developmental Pathology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2005


  • Bacterial infections
  • Endometritis
  • Placental diseases
  • Polymerase chain reaction
  • Villitis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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