Nonpathogenic colonization with Chlamydia in the gastrointestinal tract as oral vaccination for inducing transmucosal protection

Luying Wang, Cuiming Zhu, Tianyuan Zhang, Qi Tian, Nu Zhang, Sandra Morrison, Richard Morrison, Min Xue, Guangming Zhong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Chlamydia has been detected in the gastrointestinal tracts of humans and animals. We now report that gastrointestinal Chlamydia muridarum is able to induce robust transmucosal protection in mice. C. muridarum colonization in the gastrointestinal tract correlated with both a shortened course of C. muridarum genital tract infection and stronger protection against subsequent genital tract challenge infection. Mice preinoculated intragastrically with C. muridarum became highly resistant to subsequent C. muridarum infection in the genital tract, resulting in prevention of pathology in the upper genital tract. The transmucosal protection in the genital tract was rapidly induced, durable, and dependent on major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class II antigen presentation but not MHC class I antigen presentation. Although a deficiency in CD4+ T cells only partially reduced the transmucosal protection, depletion of CD4+ T cells from B cell-deficient mice completely abolished the protection, suggesting a synergistic role of both CD4+ T and B cells in the gastrointestinal C. muridarum-induced transmucosal immunity. However, the same protective immunity did not significantly affect C. muridarum colonization in the gastrointestinal tract. The long-lasting colonization with C. muridarum was restricted to the gastrointestinal tract and was nonpathogenic to either gastrointestinal or extragastrointestinal tissues. Furthermore, gastrointestinal C. muridarum did not alter the gut microbiota or the development of gut mucosal resident memory T cell responses to a nonchlamydial infection. Thus, Chlamydia may be developed into a safe and orally deliverable replicating vaccine for inducing transmucosal protection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere00630-17
JournalInfection and immunity
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2018


  • Chlamydia
  • Chlamydia muridarum
  • Gastrointestinal infection
  • Mucosal immunity
  • Nonpathogenic
  • Oral inoculation
  • Oral vaccines
  • Transmucosal immunity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Infectious Diseases
  • Parasitology
  • Microbiology
  • Immunology


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