Role of cervical dendritic cell subsets, co-stimulatory molecules, cytokine secretion profile and beta-estradiol in development of sequalae to Chlamydia trachomatis infection

Tanvi Agrawal, Vikas Vats, Paul K Wallace, Sudha Salhan, Aruna Mittal
Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology: RB&E 2008, 6: 46

BACKGROUND: Chlamydia trachomatis infection of the female genital tract can lead to serious sequelae resulting in fertility related disorders. Little is known about the mechanism leading to Chlamydia induced pathology and factors responsible for it. As only some of the women develops reproductive disorders while majority of the women clears infection without any severe sequalae, mucosal immune response in women with or without fertility disorders was studied to identify factors which may lead to final clinical outcome of chlamydial infection.

METHODS: Myeloid DCs (mDCs) and plasmacytoid DCs (pDCs) populations in cervical mucosa and peripheral blood were analyzed in controls and Chlamydia positive women with or without fertility disorders with multicoloured flow cytometric analysis. Cervical cytokines (IL-6, IL-8, IL-10, IL-12, TNF-alpha and IFN-gamma), C-reactive protein levels and sex hormone levels in serum were quantified by ELISA.

RESULTS: In cervix of Chlamydia positive women with fertility disorders, significantly high (P < 0.05) numbers of pDCs were present with increased CD80 expression. pDCs correlated significantly with C-reactive protein levels, IL-6 and IFN-gamma levels in women with fertility disorders. In contrast, mDCs showed significant upregulation of CD1a during chlamydial infection and correlated significantly with IL-12 levels in Chlamydia positive fertile women. beta-estradiol levels were significantly higher in women having fertility disorders as compared to fertile women and have significant correlations (r = 0.65; P < 0.05) with pDCs numbers, CD80 expression, IL-6 levels and IFN-gamma levels in these women.

CONCLUSION: These results suggest that development of sequalae in some women can be a result of interplay of many factors including type of dendritic cell, co stimulatory molecule expression, cytokine secretion pattern and hormone levels.

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