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The immune response against Chlamydia suis genital tract infection partially protects against re-infection

De Clercq, Evelien, Devriendt, Bert, Yin, Lizi, Chiers, Koen, Cox, Eric, Vanrompay, Daisy
Veterinary research 2014 v.45 no.1 pp. 95
B-lymphocytes, Chlamydia suis, bacteria, excretion, immune response, immunoglobulin A, immunoglobulin G, inflammation, interferon-gamma, interleukin-10, monocytes, swine
The aim of the present study was to reveal the characteristic features of genital Chlamydia suis infection and re-infection in female pigs by studying the immune response, pathological changes, replication of chlamydial bacteria in the genital tract and excretion of viable bacteria. Pigs were intravaginally infected and re-infected with C. suis strain S45, the type strain of this species. We demonstrated that S45 is pathogenic for the female urogenital tract. Chlamydia replication occurred throughout the urogenital tract, causing inflammation and pathology. Furthermore, genital infection elicited both cellular and humoral immune responses. Compared to the primo-infection of pigs with C. suis, re-infection was characterized by less severe macroscopic lesions and less chlamydial elementary bodies and inclusions in the urogenital tract. This indicates the development of a certain level of protection following the initial infection. Protective immunity against re-infection coincided with higher Chlamydia-specific IgG and IgA antibody titers in sera and vaginal secretions, higher proliferative responses of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC), higher percentages of blood B lymphocytes, monocytes and CD8⁺ T cells and upregulated production of IFN-γ and IL-10 by PBMC.