UTSA COS Summer Research Experience for 2013
Immunopathogenesis of Chlamydia Trachomatis
There currently is no licensed vaccine against Chlamydia trachomatis, the leading cause of sexually transmitted bacterial disease worldwide. Untreated chlamydial infections induce immunopathology in the uterus and fallopian tubes, causing pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) and complications such as ectopic pregnancy and infertility. Persistence is thought to be a major cause of chlamydia-induced diseases in humans and may be due to chlamydial ability to evade host immune responses. We are currently investigating various aspects of Chlamydia-induced pathogenesis utilizing genital and lung bacterial challenge models. The pathology produced by both genital (e.g., PID) and pulmonary infection of newborns (asthma-like consequences such as airway hyper-reactivity) result as a consequence of immunological sequeale to the primary or repeated infections with this pathogen. Overall, these studies provide valuable immunoregulatory insight into the design of viable vaccines against sexually transmitted disease resulting in infertility in adults and serious respiratory consequences in children born to infected mothers.