Chlamydia spreads to the large intestine lumen via multiple pathways

Zengzi Zhou, Qi Tian, Luying Wang, Min Xue, Dabao Xu, Guangming Zhong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Chlamydia in the genital tract is known to spread via the blood circulation system to the large intestine lumen to achieve long-lasting colonization. However, the precise pathways by which genital Chlamydia accesses the large intestine lumen remain unclear. The spleen was recently reported to be critical for chlamydial spreading. In the current study, it was found that following intravaginal inoculation with Chlamydia, mice with and without splenectomy both yielded infectious Chlamydia on rectal swabs, indicating that the spleen is not essential for genital Chlamydia to spread to the gastrointestinal tract. This conclusion was validated by the observation that intravenously inoculated Chlamydia was also detected on the rectal swabs of mice regardless of splenectomy. Careful comparison of the tissue distribution of live chlamydial organisms following intravenous inoculation revealed redundant pathways by which Chlamydia can reach the large intestine lumen. The intravenously inoculated Chlamydia was predominantly recruited to the spleen within 12 h and then detected in the stomach lumen by 24 h, in the intestinal lumen by 48 h, and on rectal swabs by 72 h. These observations suggest a potential spleen-to-stomach pathway for hematogenous Chlamydia to reach the large intestine lumen. This conclusion was supported by the observation made in mice under coprophagy-free condition. However, in the absence of spleen, hematogenous Chlamydia was predominantly recruited to the liver and then simultaneously detected in the intestinal tissue and lumen, suggesting a potential liver-to-intestine pathway for Chlamydia to reach the large intestine lumen. Thus, genital/hematogenous Chlamydia may reach the large intestine lumen via multiple redundant pathways.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere00254-21
JournalInfection and immunity
Volume89
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2021

Keywords

  • Chlamydia
  • GI tract
  • Liver to intestine
  • Spleen to stomach
  • Spreading pathways

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Infectious Diseases

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