Caspase-1 contributes to Chlamydia trachomatis-induced upper urogenital tract inflammatory pathologies without affecting the course of infection

Wen Cheng, Pooja Shivshankar, Zhongyu Li, Lili Chen, I. Tien Yeh, Guangming Zhong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

96 Scopus citations


Chlamydia trachomatis infection induces inflammatory pathologies in the upper genital tract, potentially leading to ectopic pregnancy and infertility in the affected women. Caspase-1 is required for processing and release of the inflammatory cytokines interleukin-1β (IL-1β), IL-18, and possibly IL-33. In the present study, we evaluated the role of caspase-1 in chlamydial infection and pathogenesis. Although chlamydial infection induced caspase-1 activation and processing of IL-1β, mice competent and mice deficient in caspase-1 experienced similar courses of chlamydial infection in their urogenital tracts, suggesting that Chlamydia-activated caspase-1 did not play a significant role in resolution of chlamydial infection. However, when genital tract tissue pathologies were examined, the caspase-1-deficient mice displayed much reduced inflammatory damage. The reduction in inflammation was most obvious in the fallopian tube tissue. These observations demonstrated that although caspase-1 is not required for controlling chlamydial infection, caspase-1-mediated responses can exacerbate the Chlamydia-induced inflammatory pathologies in the upper genital tract, suggesting that the host caspase-1 may be targeted for selectively attenuating chlamydial pathogenicity without affecting the host defense against chlamydial infection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)515-522
Number of pages8
JournalInfection and Immunity
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2008


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Infectious Diseases

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