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A Chlamydia Trachomatis -Specific Th2 Clone Does Not Provide Protection Against A Genital Infection And Displays Reduced Trafficking To The Infected Genital Mucosa

Raymond A. Hawkins, Roger G. Rank, Kathleen A. Kelly

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ABSTRACT A T helper type 1 (Th1) response is essential for resolving genital infections with the mouse pneumonitis biovar of Chlamydia trachomatis (MoPn). However, T-cell-dependent anti-chlamydial antibody is produced and may also contribute to protective immunity. We produced a MoPn-specific CD4 Th2 clone (Th2-MoPn) to study the role of a Th2 response during infection. We found that Th2-MoPn was unable to eradicate chlamydiae from the genital tract (GT) when it was transferred into MoPn-infected nude mice. Mice that received Th2-MoPn produced greater titers of MoPn-specific serum immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibody than mice that received a MoPn-specific Th1 clone (Th1-MoPn) (log 10 titers, 1.89 ± 0.84 and 0.58 ± 0.76 [mean ± standard deviation], respectively [ P < 0.01]). Also, the IgG isotypes were different for the two groups; whereas IgG1 was associated with Th2-MoPn, IgG2a was associated with Th1-MoPn. Also, infected nude mice that received Th2-MoPn produced higher levels of IgA in vaginal secretions. Although clone Th2-MoPn was detected in the GT, it was less efficient at migrating (112 ± 35.6 labeled Th2 clone cells/10 5 GT cells) than Th1-MoPn (505 ± 51.6 Th1 clone cells/10 5 GT cells) ( P < 0.001, as determined by a t test). This may have been due to reduced expression of α4β7 and P-selectin ligand 1 on Th2-MoPn. However, Th2-MoPn cells were retained in the GT during chronic infection and comprised 10 to 15% of the total GT cells 80 days after transfer. The data show that the MoPn-specific Th2 cells are important for serum and vaginal antibody production and may accumulate in the GT during chronic infection.