IL-23 induces IL-22 and IL-17 production in response to Chlamydia muridarum genital tract infection, but the absence of these cytokines does not influence disease pathogenesis

Lauren C Frazer, Amy M Scurlock, Matthew A Zurenski, Melissa M Riley, Margaret Mintus, Derek A Pociask, Jeanne E Sullivan, Charles W Andrews, Toni Darville
American Journal of Reproductive Immunology: AJRI 2013, 70 (6): 472-84

OBJECTIVE: Chlamydia trachomatis infections are a significant cause of reproductive tract pathology. Protective and pathological immune mediators must be differentiated to design a safe and effective vaccine.

METHODS: Wild-type mice and mice deficient in IL-22 and IL-23 were infected intravaginally with Chlamydia muridarum, and their course of infection and oviduct pathology were compared. Local genital tract and draining lymph node immune responses were also examined in IL-23-deficient mice.

RESULTS: IL-22- and IL-23-deficient mice exhibited normal susceptibility to infection and oviduct pathology. IL-23 was required for the development of a Chlamydia-specific Th17 response in the lymph nodes and for production of IL-22 and IL-17 in the genital tract. However, influx of Th1 and innate immune cells was not compromised in the absence of IL-23.

CONCLUSION: IL-22 and IL-23 play either redundant or minimal roles in the pathogenesis of Chlamydia infection in the mouse model. Induction of Th17-associated cytokines by a Chlamydia vaccine should be avoided as these responses are not central to resolution of infection and have pathologic potential.

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