Inflammatory bowel disease

Acute onset gastrointestinal symptoms in patients with these
diseases are accompanied by seroconversion to specific viral
or M. pneumoniae antigens. As indicated earlier,
mycoplasmas can elicit pleiotropic immune responses and are
difficult to eliminate in patients despite appropriate
antibiotic treatment. Steroid therapy to control
gastrointestinal symptoms in these patients, along with the
multifaceted biological properties associated with
pathogenic mycoplasmas, may precipitate the onset of acute
exacerbations of chronic inflammatory bowel disease.
Rheumatoid Arthritis and Other Human Arthritides The
occurrence of various Mycoplasma and Ureaplasma species in
joint tissues of patients with rheumatoid arthritis,
sexually transmitted reactive arthritis, and other human
arthritides can no longer be ignored (8). A clinical trial
of longterm (6 to 12 months) antibiotic (doxycycline)
therapy before cartilage destruction might prove beneficial
in managing such frequent and often debilitating infections.
Extensive clinical and microbiological evidence indicates
that mycoplasmas alone can elicit a spectrum of illness for
which no other agents are incriminated. The eradication of
these pathogenic mycoplasmas from various tissue sites
requires an intact and functional immune system, although
persons with fully competent immune systems may have
difficulty eliminating mycoplasmas, even with recommended
prolonged drug therapy. Nonetheless, mycoplasmas are still
viewed as subordinates to other infectious agents and are
relegated to a category of commensals that unwittingly
cause disease in patients whose immune systems offer little
resistance to microbial stress and overload. The
fundamental importance of mycoplasmas in specific diseases
of humans, animals, insects, and plants is irrefutable, and
their unique biological properties are consistent with
their intimate association with host target cells. These
remarkable bacteria must continue to receive the scientific
attention of mycoplasmologists, cell culturists,
clinicians, immunologists, and DNA sequencers who most
recently are compiling extensive databases that may
eventually dissect every approachable mycoplasmal element
that defines their biological and genetic being.
Nonetheless, mycoplasmas remain mysterious and enigmatic,
and the available data and proposed hypotheses that
correlate mycoplasmas with disease pathogenesis range from
definitive, provocative, and titillating to inconclusive,
confusing, and heretical. Controversy seems to be a
recurrent companion of mycoplasmas, yet good science and
openmindedness should overcome the legacy that has burdened
them for decades.

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