Evidence for long-term cervical persistence of Chlamydia trachomatis by omp1 genotyping

J Infect Dis. 2000 Sep;182(3):909-16. doi: 10.1086/315778. Epub 2000 Aug 17.


Recurrent Chlamydia trachomatis infections are common among sexually active women. Although recurrences with a new chlamydial serovar indicate reinfection, same-serovar recurrences may be due to persistence. Because persistence has important implications for pathogenesis and patient management, we identified 552 women with >3 recurrences over 2 years. Among these, 130 women (24%) had same-serovar recurrences; 58 (45%) were C class serovars (odds ratio, 2.4; 95% confidence interval, 1.7-3.5; P<.0001). Forty-five isolates from 7 women with 3-10 repeated, same-serovar infections over 2-5 years were studied. As determined by omp1 genotyping, 4 women had identical genotypes at each recurrence; 2 women had 1 or 2 amino acid changes following treatment, and one was persistently infected with a unique genotype, Ja. Many intervening culture-negative samples were positive when tested by ligase chain reaction, which suggests persistence. These data demonstrate that cervical infections with C class serovars can persist for years and may have specific biologic properties that allow for modulation of the major outer membrane protein in response to immune selection.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology
  • Azithromycin / pharmacology
  • Bacterial Outer Membrane Proteins / genetics*
  • Base Sequence
  • Chlamydia Infections / microbiology*
  • Chlamydia trachomatis
  • Doxycycline / pharmacology
  • Female
  • Genotype
  • Humans
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Porins*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Uterine Cervicitis / microbiology*


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Bacterial Outer Membrane Proteins
  • Porins
  • omp1 protein, Chlamydia trachomatis
  • Azithromycin
  • Doxycycline

Associated data

  • GENBANK/AF056204
  • GENBANK/AF063200
  • GENBANK/AF202455
  • GENBANK/AF202456
  • GENBANK/AF202457
  • GENBANK/X16007
  • GENBANK/X62921