Prophylactic and therapeutic vaccination protects sperm health from Chlamydia muridarum-induced abnormalities

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Biology of reproduction


Chlamydia is the most common bacterial sexually transmitted infection worldwide and it is widely acknowledged that controlling the rampant community transmission of this infection requires vaccine development. In this study, for the first time, we elucidate the long-term response to male mouse chlamydial vaccination with chlamydial major outer membrane protein (MOMP) and ISCOMATRIX (IMX) both prophylactically and in a novel therapeutic setting. Vaccination significantly reduced and, in some cases, cleared chlamydial burden from the prostates, epididymides, and testes, which correlates with high IgG and IgA tires in tissues and serum. Important markers of sperm health and fertility were protected including sperm motility and proteins associated with fertility in men. Within splenocytes, expression of IFNγ, TNFα, IL17, IL13, IL10, and TGFβ were changed by both infection and vaccination within CD4 and CD8 T cells and regulatory T cells. Within the testicular tissue, phenotypic and concentration changes were observed in macrophages and T cells (resident and transitory). This revealed some pathogenic phenotypes associated with infection and critically that vaccination allows maintenance of testicular homeostasis, likely by preventing significant influx of CD4 T cells and promoting IL10 production. Finally, we demonstrated the testes contained immature (B220+) B cells and mature (CD138+) Chlamydia-specific plasma cells. Thus, through vaccination, we can maintain the healthy function of the testes, which is vital to protection of male fertility.

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