Murine model of ocular infection by a human biovar of Chlamydia trachomatis

J. A. Whittum-Hudson, T. P. O'Brien, R. A. Prendergast

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Purpose. A human biovar of Chlamydia trachomatis was used to develop a murine model of ocular chlamydial infection. The inbred mouse model will allow detailed immunological studies during ocular infection, and use of a human biovar for infection may aid in identification of appropriate vaccine strategies against chlamydial infections. Methods. BALB/c, C3H/HeN, and C57B1/6J mice (n = 5 to 10 mice/group) were topically infected in the conjunctiva with C serovar of C. trachomatis. The effects were tested of single and repeated infection with 5000 inclusion-forming units (IFU) in 5 μl and different inoculum doses. Conjunctival surfaces of both eyes were swabbed for microbiologic signs (isolation culture or direct fluorescent antibody staining) or infection over 4 to 6 weeks. Conjunctivae were removed for histopathologic study, and lymphocytes from draining cervical lymph nodes and spleens were tested for chlamydia-specific proliferative responses. Serum was obtained from all mice and tested for anti-chlamydial antibodies. Results. BALB/c and C3H/HeN mice developed dose-dependent microbiologic, histopathologic, and immunologic evidence of ocular infection. Eyes of mice were culture-positive from day 7 through at least day 21, with the peak of infection at days 10 to 14 after infection. Histopathologically, the development of conjunctival subepithelial mononuclear infiltration, exudate, and loss of goblet cells occurred within 1 week. Dose-dependent lymphoproliferative responses to whole chlamydial elementary bodies were observed; anti-chlamydial antibody was detected by immunoblotting only in infected mice. Conclusions. Several strains of inbred mice are susceptible to human chlamydial biovars and may provide a useful alternative disease model in which to study the immunopathogenesis of ocular chlamydial infection and tests of vaccine candidates derived from clinically relevant human biovars.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1976-1987
Number of pages12
JournalInvestigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science
Issue number10
StatePublished - 1995
Externally publishedYes


  • Chlamydia trachomatis
  • conjunctiva
  • eye
  • immunopathogenesis
  • mouse
  • trachoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology


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