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PLoS One. 2013;8(4):e60987. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0060987. Epub 2013 Apr 5.

Th1-Th17 cells contribute to the development of uropathogenic Escherichia coli-induced chronic pelvic pain.

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Department of Urology, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, IL, USA.


The etiology of chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome in men is unknown but may involve microbes and autoimmune mechanisms. We developed an infection model of chronic pelvic pain in NOD/ShiLtJ (NOD) mice with a clinical Escherichia coli isolate (CP-1) from a patient with chronic pelvic pain. We investigated pain mechanisms in NOD mice and compared it to C57BL/6 (B6) mice, a strain resistant to CP-1-induced pain. Adoptive transfer of CD4+ T cells, but not serum, from CP-1-infected NOD mice was sufficient to induce chronic pelvic pain. CD4+ T cells in CP-1-infected NOD mice expressed IFN-γ and IL-17A but not IL-4, consistent with a Th1/Th17 immune signature. Adoptive transfer of ex-vivo expanded IFN-γ or IL-17A-expressing cells was sufficient to induce pelvic pain in naïve NOD recipients. Pelvic pain was not abolished in NOD-IFN-γ-KO mice but was associated with an enhanced IL-17A immune response to CP1 infection. These findings demonstrate a novel role for Th1 and Th17-mediated adaptive immune mechanisms in chronic pelvic pain.

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