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Vaccination with the recombinant major outer membrane protein elicits long-term protection in mice against vaginal shedding and infertility following a Chlamydia muridarum genital challenge.


Implementation of a vaccine is likely the best approach to curtail Chlamydia trachomatis infections. The aim of this study was to determine the ability of a vaccine formulated with the recombinant major outer membrane protein (MOMP) and Th1 and Th2 adjuvants, delivered by combinations of systemic and mucosal routes, to elicit long-term protection in mice against a genital challenge with Chlamydia muridarum. As a negative control, mice were vaccinated with the recombinant Neisseria gonorrhoeae porinB, and the positive control group was immunized with C. muridarum live elementary bodies (EB). The four vaccines formulated with MOMP, as determined by the titers of IgG and neutralizing antibodies in serum, proliferative responses of T-cells stimulated with EB and levels of IFN-γ in the supernatants, elicited robust humoral and cellular immune responses over a 6-month period. Groups of mice were challenged genitally at 60, 120, or 180 days postimmunization. Based on the number of mice with positive vaginal cultures, number of positive cultures, length of time of shedding, and number of inclusion forming units recovered, MOMP vaccinated groups were significantly protected. To assess fertility, when the vaginal cultures became negative, female mice were caged with male mice and the outcome of the pregnancy evaluated. As determined by the number of pregnant mice and the number of embryos, two of the vaccine formulations protected mice up to 180 days postimmunization. To our knowledge this is the first subunit of Chlamydia vaccine that has elicited in mice significant long-term protection against a genital challenge.

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