We investigated the cycle of immune enhancement and suppression seen in mice infected with Chlamydia trachomatis by using in vivo and in vitro model systems. BALB/c mice injected intravenously with chlamydia reveal a three- to seven-fold increase in numbers of plaque-forming cells producing antibodies against sheep red blood cells (SRBC), when immunized with SRBC 0 to 5 days after chlamydia infection. When mice are injected with SRBC 10 to 15 days after initial chlamydia infection, the specific anti-SRBC plaque-forming cell response is suppressed two- to three-fold. In vitro, low numbers (2 to 5 X 10(6) bacteria/ml) of chlamydia stimulate potent proliferative responses by B lymphocytes while high numbers (25 X 10(6) bacteria/ml) of bacteria generate strong, general T suppressor activity. This model has important implications for regulation of immune responses that arise at different times during chlamydial infections, as well as for the potential effectiveness of chlamydial vaccines.

This content is only available via PDF.