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J Infect Dis. 1993 Dec;168(6):1528-31.

Conjunctival scarring in trachoma is associated with depressed cell-mediated immune responses to chlamydial antigens.

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  • 1Department of Clinical Sciences, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, United Kingdom.


In vitro responses of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) were measured to antigens of Chlamydia trachomatis in 29 subjects with severe conjunctival scarring and compared with responses from 29 age-, sex-, and location-matched controls from a trachoma-endemic area in The Gambia. Proliferative and interferon-gamma responses were measured against chlamydial elementary bodies, recombinant major outer membrane protein, and affinity-purified recombinant chlamydial heat shock protein 60. Serum antibody levels in response to these antigens were also compared between the two groups, and the presence of ocular chlamydial antigen and DNA was assessed. PBMC from donors with conjunctival scarring had reduced proliferative responses to chlamydial antigens but not control antigens or mitogens compared with matched controls. By contrast, subjects with scarring had significantly higher levels of anti-chlamydial IgG antibody compared with matched controls and were more likely to be harboring ocular chlamydial antigen or DNA (or both).

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