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Vet Microbiol. 2009 Mar 16;135(1-2):147-56. doi: 10.1016/j.vetmic.2008.09.035. Epub 2008 Sep 13.

Aberrant chlamydial developmental forms in the gastrointestinal tract of pigs spontaneously and experimentally infected with Chlamydia suis.

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Institute of Veterinary Pathology, University of Zurich, Vetsuisse Faculty, Winterthurerstrasse 268, CH-8057 Zurich, Switzerland.


The phenomenon of persistence is well known from in vitro studies, where it is associated with the production of aberrant bodies, but its occurrence in vivo is less well documented. The objective of this study was to search for aberrant bodies in intestinal tissues from pigs, describe their ultrastructure, and investigate the suitability of immunohistochemical staining for chlamydial heat shock protein 60 (cHSP60) to detect such forms. Intestinal tissues derived from pigs naturally and experimentally infected with Chlamydia (C.) suis were examined by immunohistochemistry, transmission electron microscopy and immunogold electron microscopy. The chlamydial species involved in the natural infection were determined using an Array Tube Microarray to C. suis and Chlamydophila abortus. Ultrastructurally, aberrant bodies were detected in the gut of both naturally and experimentally infected pigs. Immunogold electron microscopy showed that the aberrant bodies were labeled less strongly than the normal forms by antibodies against LPS and cHSP60 respectively. It was concluded that aberrant bodies occur in vivo in pigs and that the gnotobiotic pig model might be suitable for the study of chlamydial persistence in vivo. The antibody against cHSP60 does not appear to be suitable to specifically detect such forms.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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