Chlamydia infection has been shown to be associated with an increased risk of ectopic pregnancies.
But studies have so far been unable to uncover why this effect occurs.
Researchers took fallopian tube biopsies from 38 women during hysterectomy for benign gynaecological conditions. From these they identified 14 women who had been exposed to chlamydia infection. The remaining 24 women had no evidence of infection.
The researchers found that the women who had evidence of chlamydia infection had higher levels of expression of the receptor PROKR2 in the fallopian tube.
The study authors said their findings were 'not only important in the context of ectopic pregnancies but have wider implications in explaining the association between Chlamydia trachomatis and pathologies, such as pelvic inflammatory disease and ocular trachoma'.