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J Immunol. 2010 Dec 1;185(11):6911-20. doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.1002596. Epub 2010 Oct 29.

Chlamydia-specific CD4 T cell clones control Chlamydia muridarum replication in epithelial cells by nitric oxide-dependent and -independent mechanisms.

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Department of Medicine, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, IN 46202, USA.


Chlamydia trachomatis serovars D-K are sexually transmitted intracellular bacterial pathogens that replicate in epithelial cells lining the human reproductive tract. It is clear from knockout mice and T cell depletion studies using Chlamydia muridarum that MHC class II and CD4 T cells are critical for clearing bacteria from the murine genital tract. It is not clear how CD4 T cells interact with infected epithelial cells to mediate bacterial clearance in vivo. Previous work using an epithelial tumor cell line showed that a Chlamydia-specific CD4 T cell clone was able to inhibit C. muridarum replication in vitro via induction of epithelial NO production. We have previously shown that Chlamydia-specific CD4 T cell clones can recognize and be activated by infected reproductive tract epithelial cells and block Chlamydia replication in them. We extend those observations by investigating the mechanism used by a panel of CD4 T cell clones to control Chlamydia replication in epithelial cells. We found that Chlamydia-specific CD4 T cell clones were cytolytic, but that cytolysis was not likely critical for controlling C. muridarum replication. For one, CD4 T cell clone-induced epithelial NO production was critical for controlling replication; however, the most potent CD4 T cell clones were dependent on T cell degranulation for replication control with only a minor additional contribution from NO production. We discuss our data as they relate to existing knockout mouse studies addressing mechanisms of T cell-mediated control of Chlamydia replication and their implications for intracellular epithelial pathogens in mouse models.

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