Gonorrhea – and Antibiotic Resistance – Differ in Men and Women


In a small pilot study, researchers at Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston compared gene expression in men and women infected with gonorrhea and identified a number of gender-specific characteristics.

The researchers looked at gonorrhea manifestations at a clinic that treats sexually transmitted infections in an area with high rates of gonorrhea and antibiotic resistance. They collected specimens from men and from their female partners who sought treatment following confirmation of a partner’s diagnosis, then used RNA-sequencing to identify gene expression during infection. According to the Tufts researchers, 9 percent of gonococcal genes showed increased expression exclusively in men, and 4 percent of genes showed increased expression exclusively in women. Men and women displayed similar antibiotic-resistant genotypes, but resistance was four times higher in men.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), about 78 million new cases of gonorrhea occur each year worldwide. Although antibiotics usually clear the infection , drug-resistant strains of gonorrhea have emerged in recent years, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) listed antibiotic-resistant gonorrhea as an urgent public health threat in 2013.

Sourced from: Tufts University School of Medicine