Genital Chlamydia trachomatis infections can elicit an inflammatory arthritis in some individuals, and recent surprising studies have demonstrated that only ocular (trachoma) strains, not genital strains, of the organism are present in the synovial tissues of patients with the disease. This observation suggests an explanation for the small proportion of genitally-infected patients who develop Chlamydia-induced arthritis. Other recent studies have begun to identify the specific chlamydial gene products that elicit the synovial inflammatory response during both active and quiescent disease, although much more study will be required to complete the understanding of that complex process of host-pathogen interaction. Several newly developed experimental methods and approaches for study of the process will enable identification of new therapeutic targets, and possibly strategies for prevention of the disease altogether.
Keywords: Chlamydia trachomatis; combination antibiotics; genetics; inflammation; pathogenesis.