Objective: Our purpose was to determine whether tumor necrosis factor-alpha is produced in response to infection with Chlamydia trachomatis in the fallopian tube.
Study design: Fallopian tubes were harvested at the time of abdominal hysterectomy and processed by standard tissue culture techniques. Tubal segments were inoculated with Chlamydia trachomatis serotype E/UW-5/CX. At 48 hours of incubation supernatant fluid was assayed for tumor necrosis factor-alpha. Tubal segments were stained for chlamydial inclusions and tumor necrosis factor-alpha by use of immunohistochemical techniques.
Results: Mean tumor necrosis factor-alpha levels for infected segments were 92.1 +/- 21.3 pg/ml (mean +/- SEM) and for control segments were 61.9 +/- 13.9 pg/ml (p = 0.03 by paired t test). Tumor necrosis factor-alpha was predominantly localized in the tubal epithelium.
Conclusions: Tumor necrosis factor-alpha is produced in response to chlamydial infection by the human fallopian tube. It is an important proinflammatory cytokine and may promote the production of other cytokines and immune-mediated damage of the fallopian tube.