Intravenous inoculation with chlamydia muridarum leads to a long-lasting infection restricted to the gastrointestinal tract

Jin Dai, Tianyuan Zhang, Luying Wang, Lili Shao, Cuiming Zhu, Yuyang Zhang, Courtney Failor, Robert Schenken, Joel Baseman, Cheng He, Guangming Zhong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Chlamydia has been detected in the gastrointestinal tracts of both animals and humans. However, it remains unclear whether the chlamydial organisms can be introduced into the gastrointestinal tract via pathways independent of the oral and anal routes. We have recently shown that Chlamydia muridarum spreads from the genital tract to the gastrointestinal tract potentially via the circulatory system. To test whether hematogenous C. muridarum can spread to and establish a long-lasting colonization in the mouse gastrointestinal tract, we inoculated mice intravenously with a luciferase-expressing C. muridarum strain and monitored its distribution. After tail vein inoculation, most luciferase-generated bioluminescence signals were detected in the mouse abdominal area throughout the experiment. The ex vivo imaging revealed that the abdominal signals came from the gastrointestinal tract tissues. Simultaneous monitoring of chlamydial organisms in individual organs or tissues revealed an initial stage of systemic spreading followed by a long-lasting infection in the gastrointestinal tract. A retro-orbital vein inoculation of the C. muridarum organisms at a lower dose in a different mouse strain also led to colonization of the gastrointestinal tract. We have demonstrated that intravenous C. muridarum inoculation can result in colonization of the gastrointestinal tract, suggesting that the chlamydial organisms may use the sexual behavior-independent circulation pathway to infect the gastrointestinal tract.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2382-2388
Number of pages7
JournalInfection and immunity
Issue number8
StatePublished - 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Infectious Diseases
  • Parasitology
  • Microbiology
  • Immunology


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