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Induction of partial immunity in both males and females is sufficient to protect females against sexual transmission of Chlamydia.

O'Meara CP, Armitage CW, Kollipara A, Andrew DW, Trim L, Plenderleith MB, Beagley KW

  • Journal Mucosal immunology

  • Published 09 Dec 2015

  • Volume 9

  • ISSUE 4

  • Pagination 1076-88

  • DOI 10.1038/mi.2015.125


Sexually transmitted Chlamydia trachomatis causes infertility, and because almost 90% of infections are asymptomatic, a vaccine is required for its eradication. Mathematical modeling studies have indicated that a vaccine eliciting partial protection (non-sterilizing) may prevent Chlamydia infection transmission, if administered to both sexes before an infection. However, reducing chlamydial inoculum transmitted by males and increasing infection resistance in females through vaccination to elicit sterilizing immunity has yet to be investigated experimentally. Here we show that a partially protective vaccine (chlamydial major outer membrane protein (MOMP) and ISCOMATRIX (IMX) provided sterilizing immunity against sexual transmission between immunized mice. Immunizing male or female mice before an infection reduced chlamydial burden and disease development, but did not prevent infection. However, infection and inflammatory disease responsible for infertility were absent in 100% of immunized female mice challenged intravaginally with ejaculate collected from infected immunized males. In contrast to the sterilizing immunity generated following recovery from a previous chlamydial infection, protective immunity conferred by MOMP/IMX occurred independent of resident memory T cells. Our results demonstrate that vaccination of males or females can further protect the opposing sex, whereas vaccination of both sexes can synergize to elicit sterilizing immunity against Chlamydia sexual transmission.