Induction of protection against vaginal shedding and infertility by a recombinant Chlamydia vaccine

Jennifer R Carmichael, Sukumar Pal, Delia Tifrea, Luis M de la Maza
Vaccine 2011 July 18, 29 (32): 5276-83
A vaccine formulated with the Chlamydia muridarum recombinant major outer membrane protein, plus the adjuvants CpG and Montanide, was tested for its ability to protect BALB/c mice against a vaginal challenge. Mice were immunized by mucosal [intravaginal (i.vag.) plus colonic (col.), or intranasal (i.n.) plus sublingual (s.l.)], or systemic [intramuscular (i.m.) plus subcutaneous (s.c.)] routes, and a combination of mucosal priming and systemic boosting routes. A negative control group was vaccinated with the Neisseria gonorrhoeae porin B (Ng-rPorB) and a positive control group was inoculated in the nares with live Chlamydia. The strongest Chlamydia-specific humoral and cell-mediated immune responses were observed in the groups immunized by a combination of mucosal and systemic routes. Following the vaginal challenge, groups immunized using mucosal priming followed by systemic immunization had a significant decrease in the number of mice with positive vaginal cultures. For example, of the mice immunized i.n./s.l.+i.m./s.c., 24% had positive cultures during the six weeks of the experiment versus 69% for the negative control group immunized with Ng-rPorB (P<0.05). Similarly, the groups of mice primed by the mucosal routes and boosted by the systemic routes had significantly less IFU in the vaginal cultures when compared to the Ng-rPorB animals (P<0.05). These combination groups were also protected against infertility. The two groups had fertility rates of 100% (i.n./s.l.+i.m./s.c.) and 81% (i.vag./col.+i.m./s.c.) equivalent to the positive-control group immunized with live Chlamydia (100% fertility; P>0.05). These results show the importance of the schedule and routes of vaccination and represent the first study to show protection against infertility by a Chlamydia recombinant subunit vaccine.

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