• proliferative response;
  • MOMP antigen;
  • cytokines;
  • Chlamydia trachomatis


Chlamydia trachomatis infection is followed by the development of antigen-specific cell-mediated immunity, which is detectable as a positive lymphocyte proliferation response to the chlamydial major outer membrane protein (MOMP) antigen. To date, however, there have been no studies on the mucosal immune responses to chlamydial antigens. This study aimed to study the primary and secondary immune responses of cervical lymphocytes in response to the chlamydial antigen. Median proliferative responses were found to be significantly (P<0.05) higher in patients with chlamydial infections than in controls. The chlamydial MOMP induced significantly higher IL-6 and IL-10 and lower interferon-gamma (IFN-γ) secretion in cervical lymphocytes of Chlamydia-positive women, resulting in a T helper 2 response. On stimulation of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) obtained from Chlamydia-positive women with the chlamydial antigen, the median levels of IL-10, IL-12 and IFN-γ were higher than in controls, but the differences were not significant. Our study suggests that the mucosal immune responses towards Chlamydia trachomatis are different from those of PBMCs and are more helpful in understanding the cytokine responses in the female genital tract during chlamydial infection.