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Elimination of Chlamydia muridarum from the female reproductive tract is IL-12p40 dependent, but independent of Th1 and Th2 cells

  • Rixon, Jordan A
  • Fong, Kevin D
  • Morris, Claire
  • Nguyen, Alana T
  • Depew, Claire E
  • McSorley, Stephen J
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2024
eScholarship - University of California
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Chlamydia vaccine approaches aspire to induce Th1 cells for optimal protection, despite the fact that there is no direct evidence demonstrating Th1-mediated Chlamydia clearance from the female reproductive tract (FRT). We recently reported that T-bet-deficient mice can resolve primary Chlamydia infection normally, undermining the potentially protective role of Th1 cells in Chlamydia immunity. Here, we show that T-bet-deficient mice develop robust Th17 responses and that mice deficient in Th17 cells exhibit delayed bacterial clearance, demonstrating that Chlamydia-specific Th17 cells represent an underappreciated protective population. Additionally, Th2-deficient mice competently clear cervicovaginal infection. Furthermore, we show that sensing of IFN-γ by non-hematopoietic cells is essential for Chlamydia immunity, yet bacterial clearance in the FRT does not require IFN-γ secretion by CD4 T cells. Despite the fact that Th1 cells are not necessary for Chlamydia clearance, protective immunity to Chlamydia is still dependent on MHC class-II-restricted CD4 T cells and IL-12p40. Together, these data point to IL-12p40-dependent CD4 effector maturation as essential for Chlamydia immunity, and Th17 cells to a lesser extent, yet neither Th1 nor Th2 cell development is critical. Future Chlamydia vaccination efforts will be more effective if they focus on induction of this protective CD4 T cell population.

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