Cytokine expression pattern in the genital tract of Chlamydia trachomatis positive infertile women - implication for T-cell responses

Clin Exp Immunol. 2004 Sep;137(3):552-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2249.2004.02564.x.


Human genital infection caused by Chlamydia trachomatis is thought to be immunologically mediated, resulting in local recruitment of lymphocyte subsets and inducing the production of cytokines. Little information is available about the role of lymphocyte recruitment and the regulation of cytokine production in the genital tract of C. trachomatis positive infertile women. We have evaluated the recruitment of lymphocyte subsets in the genital tract and production of Th1/Th2 cytokines in cervical secretions and laparoscopic specimens from the fallopian tubes of C. trachomatis positive infertile women (n = 17) and compared them with controls, viz. C. trachomatis negative infertile women (n = 20) using ELISA and flow cytometry. None of these patients were found to be infected either with Candida sps., bacterial vaginosis, Trichomonas vaginalis, Neisseria gonorrhoeae, Mycoplasma hominis or Ureaplasma urealyticum in the cervix. Flow cytometric analysis of cervical secretions in Chlamydia positive women revealed recruitment of both CD4 and CD8 lymphocytes to the genital tract was up-regulated and a variation in the production rates of different cytokines in cervical secretions and fallopian tube was observed. We found that the immune responses in cervical secretions were of Th0 type, since all the analysed cytokines, viz. IFN-gamma, TNF-alpha, IL-10 and IL-12 were up-regulated. As, both CD4 and CD8 cells contribute to the production of IFN-gamma and IL-10, these results suggest that along with CD4 cells, CD8 lymphocytes also may be important for local regulation of Th1/Th2 responses in the genital tract during C. trachomatis infection.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cervix Uteri / immunology
  • Cervix Uteri / microbiology
  • Chlamydia Infections / immunology*
  • Chlamydia trachomatis*
  • Cytokines / analysis*
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay / methods
  • Fallopian Tubes / immunology
  • Fallopian Tubes / microbiology
  • Female
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Genitalia, Female / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Infertility, Female / immunology
  • Infertility, Female / microbiology*
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology*


  • Cytokines