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Immunology. 2005 Dec;116(4):499-506.

Resistance to chlamydial lung infection is dependent on major histocompatibility complex as well as non-major histocompatibility complex determinants.

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Department of Medical Microbiology, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada.


Our previous work has shown that C3H/HeN and C57BL/6 mice have differential susceptibility to Chlamydia trachomatis mouse pneumonitis (C. muridarum) lung infection. C3H/HeN (H-2(k)) mice were found to be highly susceptible to C. muridarum infection with higher mortality and more severe morbidity compared to C57BL/6 (H-2(b)) mice. To examine the role of major histocompatibility complex (MHC) genes on host resistance to chlamydial lung infection, we compared MHC congenic mice, B6.H2k [C57BL/6 background, C3H MHC (H-2(k))] and C3H.H2b [C3H/HeN background, C57BL/6 MHC (H-2(b))] and their corresponding wild type C57BL/6 mice and C3H/HeN mice, respectively, in susceptibility to C. muridarum infection. We found that B6.H2k, C3H.H2b and C3H/HeN mice are more susceptible to chlamydial lung infection compared to the wild type C57BL/6 mice by showing more serious body weight loss, higher in vivo chlamydial growth and more severe pathologic changes. Congenic B6.H2k mice showed significantly lower levels of IL-12 and IFN-gamma production compared to C57BL/6 as well as C3H/HeN and C3H.H2b mice. One the other hand, although congenic C3H.H2b mice displayed similar cytokine response to C57BL/6 mice, they were highly susceptible to C. muridarum infection. Overall, the results suggest that protection against chlamydial lung infection is both MHC and non-MHC gene dependent, and that the interaction between MHC and non-MHC elements may contribute to host resistance to chlamydial infection.

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