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IL-23 Induces IL-22 and IL-17 Production in Response to Chlamydia muridarum Genital Tract Infection, but the Absence of these Cytokines does not Influence Disease Pathogenesis




Chlamydia trachomatis infections are a significant cause of reproductive tract pathology. Protective and pathological immune mediators must be differentiated to design a safe and effective vaccine.


Wild-type mice and mice deficient in IL-22 and IL-23 were infected intravaginally with Chlamydia muridarum, and their course of infection and oviduct pathology were compared. Local genital tract and draining lymph node immune responses were also examined in IL-23-deficient mice.


IL-22- and IL-23-deficient mice exhibited normal susceptibility to infection and oviduct pathology. IL-23 was required for the development of a Chlamydia-specific Th17 response in the lymph nodes and for production of IL-22 and IL-17 in the genital tract. However, influx of Th1 and innate immune cells was not compromised in the absence of IL-23.


IL-22 and IL-23 play either redundant or minimal roles in the pathogenesis of Chlamydia infection in the mouse model. Induction of Th17-associated cytokines by a Chlamydia vaccine should be avoided as these responses are not central to resolution of infection and have pathologic potential.