Effects of iota-carrageenan on ocular Chlamydia trachomatis infection in vitro and in vivo

J Appl Phycol. 2018;30(4):2601-2610. doi: 10.1007/s10811-018-1435-0. Epub 2018 Mar 13.


Ocular chlamydial infections with the ocular serovars A, B, Ba, and C of Chlamydia trachomatis represent the world's leading cause of infectious blindness. Carrageenans are naturally occurring, sulfated polysaccharides generally considered safe for food and topical applications. Carrageenans can inhibit infection caused by a variety of viruses and bacteria. To investigate whether iota-carrageenan (I-C) isolated from the red alga Chondrus crispus could prevent ocular chlamydial infection, we assessed if targeted treatment of the conjunctival mucosa with I-C affects chlamydial attachment, entry, and replication in the host cell. Immortalized human conjunctival epithelial cells were treated with I-C prior to C. trachomatis infection and analyzed by flow cytometry and immunofluorescence microscopy. In vivo effects were evaluated in an ocular guinea pig inclusion conjunctivitis model. Ocular pathology was graded daily, and chlamydial clearance was investigated. Our study showed that I-C reduces the infectivity of C. trachomatis in vitro. In vivo results showed a slight reduced ocular pathology and significantly less shedding of infectious elementary bodies by infected animals. Our results indicate that I-C could be a promising agent to reduce the transmission of ocular chlamydial infection and opens perspectives to develop prophylactic approaches to block C. trachomatis entry into the host cell.

Keywords: Carrageenan; Chlamydia; Natural products; Trachoma.