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J Immunol. 2009 Mar 15;182(6):3735-45. doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.0800764.

Chlamydia trachomatis infection modulates trophoblast cytokine/chemokine production.

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Department of Laboratory Medicine, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06520, USA.


It is well established that intrauterine infections can pose a threat to pregnancy by gaining access to the placenta and fetus, and clinical studies have strongly linked bacterial infections with preterm labor. Although Chlamydia trachomatis (Ct) can infect the placenta and decidua, little is known about its effects on trophoblast cell immune function. We have demonstrated that Ct infects trophoblast cells to form inclusions and completes the life cycle within these cells by generating infectious elementary bodies. Moreover, infection with Ct leads to differential modulation of the trophoblast cell's production of cytokines and chemokines. Using two human first trimester trophoblast cell lines, Sw.71 and H8, the most striking feature we found was that Ct infection results in a strong induction of IL-1beta secretion and a concomitant reduction in MCP-1 (CCL2) production in both cell lines. In addition, we have found that Ct infection of the trophoblast results in the cleavage and degradation of NF-kappaB p65. These findings suggest that the effect of a Chlamydia infection on trophoblast secretion of chemokines and cytokines involves both activation of innate immune receptors expressed by the trophoblast and virulence factors secreted into the trophoblast by the bacteria. Such altered trophoblast innate immune responses may have a profound impact on the microenvironment of the maternal-fetal interface and this could influence pregnancy outcome.

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