Chlamydia trachomatis infection causes severe inflammatory disease resulting in blindness and infertility. The pathophysiology of these diseases remains elusive but myeloid cell-associated inflammation has been implicated. Here we show NLRP3 inflammasome activation is essential for driving a macrophage-associated endometritis resulting in infertility by using a female mouse genital tract chlamydial infection model. We find the chlamydial parasitophorous vacuole protein CT135 triggers NLRP3 inflammasome activation via TLR2/MyD88 signaling as a pathogenic strategy to evade neutrophil host defense. Paradoxically, a consequence of CT135 mediated neutrophil killing results in a submucosal macrophage-associated endometritis driven by ATP/P2X7R induced NLRP3 inflammasome activation. Importantly, macrophage-associated immunopathology occurs independent of macrophage infection. We show chlamydial infection of neutrophils and epithelial cells produce elevated levels of extracellular ATP. We propose this source of ATP serves as a DAMP to activate submucosal macrophage NLRP3 inflammasome that drive damaging immunopathology. These findings offer a paradigm of sterile inflammation in infectious disease pathogenesis.
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