Medical Microbiology and Immunology

, Volume 201, Issue 1, pp 113–116 | Cite as

High detection rate of Trichomonas vaginalis in benign hyperplastic prostatic tissue

  • Dieter MittereggerEmail author
  • Stephan W. Aberle
  • Athanasios Makristathis
  • Julia Walochnik
  • Wolfgang Brozek
  • Michael Marberger
  • Gero Kramer
Rapid Communication


While Trichomonas vaginalis, a protozoan parasite, is a well-investigated pathogen in the female population, there is little awareness of its significance in the male uro-genital tract. The presence of T. vaginalis in the prostate gland has only been scarcely investigated and has never been attested in conditions other than clinical prostatitis. Still, by some authors, this organ is regarded as ecologic niche for T. vaginalis. Since normal prostate tissue of sufficient quality is hard to come by, we investigated samples from 86 patients (mean age 68.7 ± 7.6 years) suffering from benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), a medical condition currently ranked as noninfectious, but characterized by chronic inflammatory tissue infiltrates of unknown etiology. Applying two different PCR protocols and sequence analysis of the respective amplicons, we detected T. vaginalis DNA in 29/86 (34%) BPH tissue samples, whereas in only 2/86 (2.3%) cases T. vaginalis grew in culture. Detection of T. vaginalis DNA correlated significantly (P < 0.01) with elevated peripheral blood monocytic cell counts, appearing along with protozoan infections. Given the unexpected high prevalence of T. vaginalis in BPH tissue of a nonselected, elderly study population from Austria, further epidemiological studies have to confirm this finding. Potential interactions of T. vaginalis in its prostatic habitat may be investigated with respect to their possible contribution to the inflammatory pathogenesis of BPH, since inflammatory cytokines have been shown to sustain prostatic hyperplastic growth.


Trichomonas vaginalis Benign prostatic hyperplasia Prostate gland Chronic inflammation Infection 



The authors thank Iveta Häfeli and Jacek Pietrzak for excellent technical assistance and are grateful to Prof. Herbert Auer (Division of Medical Parasitology, Department of Specific Prophylaxis and Tropical Medicine) for inspiring discussion, and to Prof. Alexander Hirschl (Division of Clinical Microbiology, Department of Laboratory Medicine) and Prof. Elisabeth Nagy (Institute of Clinical Microbiology, University of Szeged, HU) for careful revision of the manuscript. We are indebted to the Division of Clinical Microbiology, Department of Laboratory Medicine, Medical University Vienna, Austria for providing the opportunity to finalize the present study.

Ethical standards

All investigations in the present study comply with Austrian law.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dieter Mitteregger
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Stephan W. Aberle
    • 3
  • Athanasios Makristathis
    • 2
  • Julia Walochnik
    • 4
  • Wolfgang Brozek
    • 1
  • Michael Marberger
    • 1
  • Gero Kramer
    • 1
  1. 1.Ludwig Boltzmann Cluster of Urology, Department of UrologyMedical University ViennaViennaAustria
  2. 2.Division of Clinical Microbiology, Department of Laboratory MedicineMedical University ViennaViennaAustria
  3. 3.Department for VirologyMedical University ViennaViennaAustria
  4. 4.Medical Parasitology, Institute of Specific Prophylaxis and Tropical Medicine, Department of Pathophysiology, Infectiology and ImmunologyMedical University ViennaViennaAustria

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