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Infect Immun. 2010 Apr;78(4):1670-81. doi: 10.1128/IAI.01339-09. Epub 2010 Feb 1.

Local host response to chlamydial urethral infection in male guinea pigs.

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Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and Arkansas Children's Hospital Research Institute, Little Rock, Arkansas 72205, USA.


Very little is known about the host response to chlamydial genital infection in the male, particularly about the nature of the local response in the urethra. In this study, the pathological and immunologic responses to urethral infection of the male guinea pig with Chlamydia caviae (Chlamydophila caviae) were characterized both during a primary infection and following a challenge infection. A dose-response experiment found that the 50% infectious dose for male urethral infection was 78 inclusion-forming units. The histopathologic response was similar to that of the female, with an initial acute inflammatory response followed by a chronic inflammatory response and plasma cell infiltration. Production of IgG and IgA antibodies in local urethral secretions developed following infection, and levels of both increased in a typical anamnestic response following a challenge infection. CD4 and CD8 T cells, as well as B cells, were observed in the local site by flow cytometry, with a slightly increased number of CD8 cells. Following challenge infection, the dominant anamnestic response was solely in the B-cell compartment, with only a minimal number of T cells. The T-cell response was clearly a Th1 response, as judged by increased levels of gamma interferon (IFN-gamma), interleukin-12 p40 (IL-12p40), and IL-2. The proinflammatory cytokines and chemokines IL-8, IL-1beta, tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha), CCL2 (monocyte chemoattractant protein 1 [MCP-1]), and CCL5 (RANTES) were elicited in the urethra following primary infection, but only CCL5 showed increased levels upon challenge. This study represents the first comprehensive analysis of the local immune response in the male urethra to a chlamydial genital infection.

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