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Differential Susceptibilities To Azithromycin Treatment Of Chlamydial Infection In The Gastrointestinal Tract And Cervix

Laxmi Yeruva, Stepan Melnyk, Nicole Spencer, Anne Bowlin, Roger G. Rank

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ABSTRACTEvidence from animal studies suggests that chlamydiae may persist in the gastrointestinal tract (GI) and be a reservoir for reinfection of the genital tract. We hypothesize that there may be a differential susceptibility of organisms in the GI and genital tracts. To determine the effect of azithromycin on persistent chlamydial gut infection, C57BL/6 and BALB/c mice were infected orally and genitally and treated with azithromycin (Az) orally (20, 40, or 80 mg/kg of body weight), and the numbers of chlamydiae were determined from cervix and cecal tissues. The Az concentration in the cecum and cervix was measured by high-performance liquid chromatography with electrochemical detection (HPLC-ECD). Az treatment cleared genital infection in both C57BL/6 and BALB/c mice; however, GI infection was not cleared with the same doses. HPLC data showed the presence of Az at both sites of infection, and significant amounts of Az were measured in treatment groups. However, no significant difference in Az levels between the cecum and the cervix was observed, indicating similar levels of Az reaching both sites of infection. These data indicate that antibiotic levels that are sufficient to cure genital infection are ineffectual against GI infection. The results suggest a reevaluation of antibiotic therapy for chlamydial infection.