Mycoplasmas are a specific and unique species of bacteria -
the smallest free-living organism known on the planet. The primary differences
between mycoplasmas and other bacteria is that bacteria have a solid cell-wall
structure and they can grow in the simplest culture media.
Mycoplasmas however, do not have a cell wall, and like a tiny jellyfish
with a pliable membrane, can take on many different shapes which make them
difficult to identify, even under a high powered electron microscope. Mycoplasmas
can also be very hard to culture in the laboratory and are often missed
as pathogenic causes of diseases for this reason.
The accepted name was chosen because Mycoplasmas were observed to have
a fungi-like structure (Mycology is the study of fungi - hence "Myco")
and it also had a flowing plasma-like structure without a cell wall - hence
"plasma". The first strains were isolated from cattle with arthritis and
pleuro-pneumonia in 1898 at the Pasteur Institute.
The first human strain was isolated in 1932 from an abscessed wound.
The first connection between mycoplasmas and rheumatoid diseases was
made in 1939 by Drs. Swift and Brown.
Unfortunately, mycoplasmas didn't become part of the medical school
curriculum until the late 1950's when one specific strain was identified
and proven to be the cause of atypical pneumonia, and named Mycoplasma
The association between immunodeficiency and autoimmune disorders with
mycoplasmas was first reported in the mid 1970s in patients with primary
hypogammaglobulinemia (an autoimmune disease) and infection with four species
of mycoplasma that had localized in joint tissue. Since that time, scientific
testing methodologies have made critical technological progress and along
with it, more mycoplasma species have been identified and recorded
in animals, humans and even plants.
While Mycoplasma pneumonia is certainly not the only species causing
disease in humans, it makes for a good example of how this stealth pathogen
can move out of it's typical environment and into other parts of the body
and begin causing other diseases. While residing in the respiratory tract
and lungs, Mycoplasma pneumonia remains an important cause
of pneumonia and other airway disorders, such as tracheobronchitis, pharyngitis
When this stealth pathogen hitches a ride to other parts of the body,
it is associated with non-pulmonary manifestations, such as blood, skin,
joint, central nervous system, liver, pancreas, and cardiovascular syndromes
and disorders. Even as far back as 1983, doctors at Yale noted:
"Over the past 20 years the annual number of reports on extrapulmonary
symptoms during Mycoplasma (M.) pneumoniae disease has increased. Clinical
and epidemiological data indicate that symptoms from the skin and mucous
membranes, from the central nervous system, from the heart, and perhaps
from other organs as well are not quite uncommon manifestations of M. pneumoniae
This single stealth pathogen has been discovered in the urogenital tract
of patients suffering from inflammatory pelvic disease, urethritis, and
other urinary tract diseases.
It has been discovered in the heart tissues and fluid of patients suffering
from cardititis, pericarditis, tachycardia, hemolytic anemia, and other
coronary heart diseases. It has been found in the cerebrospinal fluid of
patients with meningitis and encephalitis, seizures, ALS, Alzheimer's and
other central nervous system infections, diseases and disorders.
It has even been found regularly in the bone marrow of children with
leukemia. It is amazing that one single tiny bacteria can be the cause
of so many seemingly unrelated diseases in humans. But as with all mycoplasma
species, the disease is directly related to where the
mycoplasma resides in the body and which cells in the body it attaches
to or invades.
Today, over 100 documented species of mycoplasmas have been recorded
to cause various diseases in humans, animals,
Mycoplasma pneumonia as well as at least 7 other mycoplasma species
have now been linked as a direct cause or significant
co-factor to many chronic diseases including, rheumatoid arthritis, Alzheimer's,
multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, diabetes, Crohn's Disease,
ALS, nongonoccal urethritis, asthma, lupus, infertility, AIDS and certain
leukemia, just to name a few.
In 1997, the National Center for Infectious Diseases, Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention's journal, Emerging Infectious Diseases, published
the article, Mycoplasmas: Sophisticated, Reemerging, and Burdened by Their
Notoriety, by Drs. Baseman and Tully who stated:
"Nonetheless, mycoplasmas by themselves can cause
acute and chronic diseases at multiple sites with wide-ranging complications
and have been implicated as cofactors in disease. Recently, mycoplasmas
have been linked as a cofactor to AIDS pathogenesis and to malignant transformation,
chromosomal aberrations, the Gulf War Syndrome, and other unexplained and
complex illnesses, including chronic fatigue syndrome, Crohn's disease,
and various arthritides."
Mycoplasmas, unlike viruses, can grow in tissue fluids (blood, joint, heart,
chest and spinal fluids) and can grow inside any living tissue cell without
killing the cells, as most normal bacteria and viruses will do.
Mycoplasmas are frequently found in the oral and genito-urinary tracts
of normal healthy people and are found to infect females four times more
often than males, which just happens to be the same incidence rate in rheumatoid
arthritis, fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue and other related disorders. Mycoplasmas
are parasitic in nature and can attach to specific cells
without killing the cells and thus their infection process and progress
can go undetected.
In some people the attachment of mycoplasmas to the host cell acts like
a living thorn; a persistent foreign substance, causing the host's immune
defense mechanism to wage war. This allergic type of inflammation often
results in heated, swollen, and painful inflamed tissues, like those found
in rheumatoid diseases, fibromyalgia and many other autoimmune disorders
like lupus and MS, Crohn's and others.
In such cases the immune system begins attacking itself and/or seemingly
healthy cells. Some species of mycoplasmas also have the unique ability
to completely evade the immune system. Once they attach to a host cell
in the body, their unique plasma and protein coating can then mimic the
cell wall of the host cell and the immune system cannot differentiate the
from the body's own host cell.
Mycoplasmas are parasitic in nature because they rely on the nutrients
found in host cells including cholesterol, amino acids, fatty acids and
They especially thrive in cholesterol rich and arginine-rich environments.
Mycoplasmas can generally be found in the mucous membrane in the respiratory
tract. They need cholesterol for membrane function and growth, and there
is an abundance of cholesterol in the bronchial tubes of the respiratory
tract. Once attached to a host cell, they then begin competing for nutrients
inside the host cells.
As nutrients are depleted, then these host cells can begin to malfunction,
or even change normal functioning of the cell, causing a chain reaction
with other cells (especially within the immune and endocrine systems).
Mycoplasmas can even cause RNA and DNA mutation
of the host cells and have been linked to certain cancers for this reason.
Mycoplasmas can also invade and live inside host cells which evade the
immune system, especially white blood cells. Once inside a white blood
cell, mycoplasmas can travel throughout the body and even cross the blood/brain
barrier, and into the central cervous system and spinal fluid.
How Mycoplasmas Interact In The Body
To understand how mycoplasmas can cause
widespread disease, we must first look at the species' unique properties
and interactions with host cells. Unlike viruses and bacteria, mycoplasmas
are the smallest free-living and self-duplicating microorganisms, as they
don't require living cells to replicate their DNA and growth.
Mycoplasmas are able to hide inside the cells of the host (patient)
or to attach to the outside of host cells. Whether they live inside or
outside the host cell, they depend on host cells for nutrients such as
cholesterol, amino acids, etc. They compete with the host cells for these
nutrients which can interfere with host cell function without killing the
A mycoplasma has very little DNA of its own, but is capable of using
DNA from a host cell. When a mycoplasma takes over the DNA of the host
cell, anything can happen - including causing that cell to malfunction
in many different ways and/or die, or can cause DNA mutation of the host
cell. Mycoplasmas attach to host cells with a tiny arm coated in protein
attaches to the protein coating of host cells. For this reason, antibiotics
like tetracycline, which are classified as "protein synthesis inhibitors"
are often used against mycoplasma infections. While these antibiotics may
block this protein attachment and very slowly starve it from the nutrients
it needs from host cells to thrive and replicate, it still takes a healthy
immune system to actually kill the mycoplasma for good. Mycoplasmas are
highly adaptable to changing environments and can move anywhere in the
body, attaching to or invading virtually any type of cell in the body.
The mycoplasma adhesion proteins are very similar to human proteins.
Once adhered to the host cell, the mycoplasma can completely mimic or copy
the protein cell of the host cell. This can cause the immune system to
begin attacking the body's own cells; an event that happens in all autoimmune
Certain Mycoplasma species can either activate or suppress host immune
systems, and they may use these activities to evade host immune responses.
Mycoplasmas can turn on the chain reaction called an immune system response.
This includes the stimulation of pro-inflammatory cytokines (chemical messengers
of the immune system) which is generally found in most
autoimmune and inflammatory diseases and disorders.
Mycoplasma can also attach to or invade immune system cells, like the
very phagocytes (natural killer cells) that are supposed to kill them.
Inside these phagocytes, they can be carried to new locations of inflammation
or disease - hidden away like a spy who has infiltrated the defending army.
When a mycoplasma attaches to a host cell, it generates and releases hydrogen
peroxide and superoxide radicals which cause oxidative stress and damage
to the surrounding tissues.
The Main Human Mycoplasma Pathogens
Pathogen / Implicated Disease
Mycoplasma genitalium Arthritis, chronic nongonococcal urethritis,
chronic pelvic inflammatory disease, other urogenital infections and diseases,
Mycoplasma fermentansArthritis, Gulf War Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, Chronic
Fatigue Syndrome, Lupus, AIDS/HIV, autoimmune diseases, ALS, psoriasis
and Scleroderma, Crohn's and IBS, cancer, endocrine disorders, Multiple
Sclerosis, diabetes Mycoplasma salivarium Arthritis, TMJ disorders, Eye
and ear disorders and infections, gingivitis, periodontal diseases including
Mycoplasma hominis and Ureaplasma urealyticum. Two mycoplasmas commonly
in the urogenital tracts of healthy persons. However, over the years,
the pathogenic roles of these mycoplasmas have been proven in adult urogenital
tract diseases, neonatal respiratory infections, and a range of other diseases
usually in immunocompromised patients.
Mycoplasma pneumonia Pneumonia, asthma, upper and lower respiratory
diseases, heart diseases, leukemia, CNS disorders and diseases, urinary
tract infections, Crohn's and Irritable Bowel Syndrome, autoimmune diseases.
Mycoplasma incognitus and Mycoplasma penetrans AIDS/HIV, urogenital infections
and diseases, Autoimmune disorders and diseases.
Mycoplasma pirum Urogenital infections and diseases, AIDS/HIV.
Quote: Today, over 100 documented species of mycoplasmas have
been recorded to cause various diseases in humans, animals,
BeiYin: I need to make a remark here. As I see it, the mycoplasmas
are NOT the cause of a disease, they are a symptom. If we see them as the
cause then we will try to eliminate them how we are used to do it, but
the cause will not been taken away and then will produce another symptom,
maybe even more difficult to detect and to treat. I see the image of circulating
vultures high up in the sky. We can't see them because they are flying
too high, but they can see everything which moves down here because their
eyes are specialized. They never attack any healthy animal or human but
as soon an alive being shows some weakness, they are coming nearer, waiting
for another sign of debility, then they are ready to attack... So if the
mycoplasmas enter a cell then probably there is some debility caused
some reason which has nothing to do with the mycoplasmas. The cell might
be damaged by toxins for example, maybe only very little. But even a very
strong castle with high thick walls will alow that rats enter if there
is just a tiny hole. Right? Then the rates will be undermine the walls
and the enemies will enter and destroy all... Resume: We should try to
find the real cause and if we can't see it then in spite of it we can start
to reflect about all elements which might cause a damage even we can't
make a logical connection and then decide which of the influences we eliminate
by changing our lifestyle or our habits. There might be harmless things
we do but in combination with another harmless thing it might cause a harmful