Uterotubal junction prevents chlamydial ascension via innate immunity

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Ascension to the oviduct is necessary for Chlamydia to induce tubal infertility. Using the Chlamydia muridarum induction of hydrosalpinx mouse model, we have demonstrated a significant role of the uterotubal junction in preventing chlamydial ascending infection. First, delivery of C. muridarum to either side of the uterotubal junction resulted in significant reduction in live organisms from the tissues on the opposite sides. However, the recovery yields remained similar among different sections of the uterine horn. These observations suggest that the uterotubal junction may function as a barrier between the uterine horn and oviduct. Second, deficiency in innate immunity signaling pathways mediated by either MyD88 or STING significantly compromised the uterotubal junction barrier function, permitting C. muridarum to spread freely between uterine horn and oviduct. Finally, transcervical inoculation of C. muridarum led to significantly higher incidence of bilateral hydrosalpinges in the STING-deficient mice while the same inoculation mainly induced unilateral hydrosalpinx in the wild type mice, suggesting that the STING pathway-dependent uterotubal junction plays a significant role in preventing tubal pathology. Thus, we have demonstrated for the first time that the uterotubal junction is a functional barrier for preventing tubal infection by a sexually transmitted agent, providing the first in vivo evidence for detecting chlamydial infection by the STING pathway.




Zhang, Y., Shao, L., Li, X., & Zhong, G. (2017). Uterotubal junction prevents chlamydial ascension via innate immunity. PLoS ONE, 12(8). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0183189

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