Chlamydia trachomatis neither exerts deleterious effects on spermatozoa nor impairs male fertility.
ABSTRACT: Chlamydia trachomatis is the most prevalent sexually transmitted bacterial infection. However, whether Chlamydia trachomatis has a negative impact on sperm quality and male fertility is still controversial. Herein, we report the effects on sperm quality of the in vitro exposure of spermatozoa to Chlamydia trachomatis, and also the effects of male genital infection on male fertility using an animal model. Human and mouse sperm were obtained from healthy donors and cauda epididimys from C57BL/6 mice, respectively. Highly motile human or mouse spermatozoa were in vitro exposed to C. trachomatis (serovar E or LGV) or C. muridarum, respectively. Then, sperm quality parameters were analyzed. Moreover, male fertility of Chlamydia muridarum infected male C57BL/6 mice was assessed. Human or murine sperm in vitro exposed to increasing bacterial concentrations or soluble factors from C. trachomatis or C. muridarum, respectively, did not show differences in sperm motility and viability, apoptosis, mitochondrial membrane potential, DNA fragmentation, ROS production and lipid peroxidation levels, when compared with control sperm (p?>?0.05). Moreover, no differences in fertility parameters (potency, fecundity, fertility index, pre- and post-implantation loss) were observed between control and infected males. In conclusion, our results indicate that Chlamydia spp. neither directly exerts deleterious effects on spermatozoa nor impairs male fertility.
Project description:Pathogenically diverse Chlamydia spp. can have surprisingly similar genomes. Chlamydia trachomatis isolates that cause trachoma, sexually transmitted genital tract infections (chlamydia), and invasive lymphogranuloma venereum (LGV) and the murine strain Chlamydia muridarum share 99% of their gene content. A region of high genomic diversity between Chlamydia spp. termed the plasticity zone (PZ) may encode niche-specific virulence determinants that dictate pathogenic diversity. We hypothesized that PZ genes might mediate the greater virulence and gamma interferon (IFN-?) resistance of C. muridarum compared to C. trachomatis in the murine genital tract. To test this hypothesis, we isolated and characterized a series of C. muridarum PZ nonsense mutants. Strains with nonsense mutations in chlamydial cytotoxins, guaBA-add, and a phospholipase D homolog developed normally in cell culture. Two of the cytotoxin mutants were less cytotoxic than the wild type, suggesting that the cytotoxins may be functional. However, none of the PZ nonsense mutants exhibited increased IFN-? sensitivity in cell culture or were profoundly attenuated in a murine genital tract infection model. Our results suggest that C. muridarum PZ genes are transcribed--and some may produce functional proteins--but are dispensable for infection of the murine genital tract.
Project description:Urogenital infection with Chlamydia trachomatis in some women can lead to upper genital tract pathologies, such as hydrosalpinx, potentially affecting fertility. In the current study, 27 of 40 mice intravaginally infected with Chlamydia muridarum developed visible hydrosalpinges in the oviduct while the remaining 13 did not, although all infected mice displayed similar infection time courses. Antisera from the 40 mice recognized 130 out of 257 C. muridarum proteins as antigens and 17 as immunodominant antigens. Importantly, the 27 mice with hydrosalpinges preferentially recognized two C. muridarum proteins (TC0582 and TC0912, designated pathology-associated antigens) while the 13 mice with no hydrosalpinx preferentially recognized 10 proteins (TC0047, TC0117, TC0190, TC0197, TC0257, TC0279, TC0326, TC0630, TC0689, and TC0816, designated nonpathology antigens). The preferential recognition was validated by absorption and independently confirmed in Western blots. The C. trachomatis homolog of TC0912 is encoded by a highly polymorphic gene that is associated with ocular pathogenesis. A fragment of TC0912 was found to improve the differentiation of hydrosalpinx from nonhydrosalpinx mice. TC0582 is a highly conserved ATP synthase, and it may contribute to chlamydial pathogenesis via mechanisms similar to those hypothesized for the highly conserved HSP60. Thus, we have identified chlamydial antigens and epitopes that are associated with either susceptibility or resistance to upper genital tract pathology, which will help us to further understand chlamydial pathogenesis and to develop anti-Chlamydia subunit vaccines.
Project description:Waddlia chondrophila, a Chlamydia-like bacterium, has been previously associated with adverse pregnancy outcomes. Analogously to Chlamydia trachomatis, W. chondrophila also negatively impacts human semen and may be a source of impaired male fertility. In this study, we analyzed W. chondrophila seroprevalence in a population of male patients of infertile couples and the impact of past exposition to this bacterium on semen parameters. Our results show a surprisingly high seroprevalence of W. chondrophila, which contrasts with a previous study focusing on a population of healthy men. Nevertheless, we did not observe any significant association between positive serology and abnormal sperm parameters. This may suggest that a negative impact on semen is observed only during an ongoing infection. Alternatively, W. chondrophila may have an immune impact on male fertility, as previously postulated for women with adverse pregnancy outcomes.
Project description:We investigated prevalence of lymphogranuloma venereum (LGV) among men who have sex with men who were tested for chlamydia at 12 clinics in the United Kingdom during 10 weeks in 2012. Of 713 men positive for Chlamydia trachomatis, 66 (9%) had LGV serovars; 15 (27%) of 55 for whom data were available were asymptomatic.
Project description:OBJECTIVES:Typing of Chlamydia trachomatis (CT) is traditionally performed by characterising the ompA gene, resulting in more than a dozen different genovars, A to L. Type L is associated with Lymphogranuloma venereum (LGV) and commonly screened for using PCR, targeting the chromosomal pmpH gene. We aimed to develop and validate a new CT/LGV plasmid-based typing assay targeting the pgp3 gene, to increase sensitivity and thus reduce the number of non-typeable results. METHODS:The new pgp3 PCR assay using LNA probes to detect point mutations was analytically and prospectively validated in a routine diagnostic laboratory setting. For the analytical tests, quantified nucleotide constructs (gBlocks) were used to perform limit of detection analyses. Quality control panel samples from 2018 and 2019 for CT were also tested. For the clinical study patient samples which were collected in two months in 2018 were tested simultaneously using the pmpH PCR and the pgp3 PCR. RESULTS:Analytically, the assay proved to be 100% specific relative to the previously used LGV typing assay targeting the single copy pmpH gene but it was much more sensitive to detect non-LGV CT. In the quality control panel 2 nonLGV samples and 7 LGV samples were solely positive with the pgp3 PCR and not with the pmpH PCR. None of the samples from analytical specificity panels were positive, indicating 100% specificity. In a prospective panel of 152 clinical samples, 142 (93%) were successfully typed with the pgp3 PCR compared to 78% with the pmpH PCR. The pgp3 PCR was fully concordant with the pmpH PCR to identify all LGV subtypes and detected an increased number of clinical samples of non-LGV subtype. CONCLUSION:We developed and validated a sensitive and specific plasmid-based typing assay to discriminate LGV from non-LGV CT subtypes. This is useful in a clinical setting to quickly determine the optimal treatment for Chlamydia trachomatis infections.
Project description:Chlamydia trachomatis is responsible for both trachoma and sexually transmitted infections, causing substantial morbidity and economic cost globally. Despite this, our knowledge of its population and evolutionary genetics is limited. Here we present a detailed phylogeny based on whole-genome sequencing of representative strains of C. trachomatis from both trachoma and lymphogranuloma venereum (LGV) biovars from temporally and geographically diverse sources. Our analysis shows that predicting phylogenetic structure using ompA, which is traditionally used to classify Chlamydia, is misleading because extensive recombination in this region masks any true relationships present. We show that in many instances, ompA is a chimera that can be exchanged in part or as a whole both within and between biovars. We also provide evidence for exchange of, and recombination within, the cryptic plasmid, which is another key diagnostic target. We used our phylogenetic framework to show how genetic exchange has manifested itself in ocular, urogenital and LGV C. trachomatis strains, including the epidemic LGV serotype L2b.
Project description:STUDY QUESTION:Can Chlamydia be found in the testes of infertile men? SUMMARY ANSWER:Chlamydia can be found in 16.7% of fresh testicular biopsies and 45.3% of fixed testicular biopsies taken from a selection of infertile men. WHAT IS KNOWN ALREADY:Male chlamydial infection has been understudied despite male and female infections occurring at similar rates. This is particularly true of asymptomatic infections, which occur in 50% of cases. Chlamydial infection has also been associated with increased sperm DNA damage and reduced male fertility. STUDY DESIGN, SIZE, DURATION:We collected diagnostic (fixed, n = 100) and therapeutic (fresh, n = 18) human testicular biopsies during sperm recovery procedures from moderately to severely infertile men in a cross-sectional approach to sampling. PARTICIPANTS/MATERIALS, SETTING, METHODS:The diagnostic and therapeutic biopsies were tested for Chlamydia-specific DNA and protein, using real-time PCR and immunohistochemical approaches, respectively. Serum samples matched to the fresh biopsies were also assayed for the presence of Chlamydia-specific antibodies using immunoblotting techniques. MAIN RESULTS AND THE ROLE OF CHANCE:Chlamydial major outer membrane protein was detected in fixed biopsies at a rate of 45.3%. This was confirmed by detection of chlamydial DNA and TC0500 protein (replication marker). C. trachomatis DNA was detected in fresh biopsies at a rate of 16.7%, and the sera from each of these three positive patients contained C. trachomatis-specific antibodies. Overall, C. trachomatis-specific antibodies were detected in 72.2% of the serum samples from the patients providing fresh biopsies, although none of the patients were symptomatic nor had they reported a previous sexually transmitted infection diagnosis including Chlamydia. LIMITATIONS, REASONS FOR CAUTION:No reproductively healthy male testicular biopsies were tested for the presence of Chlamydia DNA or proteins or Chlamydia-specific antibodies due to the unavailability of these samples. WIDER IMPLICATIONS FOR THE FINDINGS:Application of Chlamydia-specific PCR and immunohistochemistry in this human male infertility context of testicular biopsies reveals evidence of a high prevalence of previously unrecognised infection, which may potentially have a pathogenic role in spermatogenic failure. STUDY FUNDING/COMPETING INTEREST(S):Funding for this project was provided by the Australian NHMRC under project grant number APP1062198. We also acknowledge assistance from the Monash IVF Group and Queensland Fertility Group in the collection of fresh biopsies, and the Monash Health and co-author McLachlan (declared equity interest) in retrieval and sectioning of fixed biopsies. E.M. declares an equity interest in the study due to financing of fixed biopsy sectioning. All other authors declare no conflicts of interest. TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER:N/A.
Project description:Male fertility, the ability of sperm to fertilize and activate the egg and support early embryogenesis, is vital for mammalian reproduction. Despite producing adequate numbers of sperm with normal motility and morphology, some males suffer from low fertility whose molecular mechanisms are not known. The objective was to determine apoptosis in sperm from high and low fertility bulls and its relationship with male fertility. DNA damage, phosphatidylserine (PS) translocation, and expression of pro- and anti-apoptotic proteins (BAX and BCL-2) in the sperm were determined using TUNEL, Annexin V, and immunoblotting approaches, respectively. Amounts of apoptotic spermatozoa were 2.86 (± 1.31) and 3.00 (± 0.96) in high and low fertility bulls, respectively (P=0.548), and were not correlated with fertility. There was a negative correlation between early necrotic spermatozoa and viable spermatozoa (r = -0.99, P<0.0001). Fertility scores were correlated with live spermatozoa detected by eosin-nigrosin test and necrotic spermatozoa determined via flow cytometry (r = -0.49, P<0.006 and r = -0.266, P<0.0113, respectively). BAX level was higher in low fertile group than high fertile group; however, this difference was not statistically significant due to the variations of bull samples (Bull 1-3 vs. Bull 4-5) in low fertile group (P<0.283). BCL-2 was not detectable in any of the sperm samples. The results shed light onto molecular and cellular underpinnings of male fertility.
Project description:There are no examples of stable tetracycline resistance in clinical strains of Chlamydia trachomatis. However, the swine pathogen Chlamydia suis is commonly tetracycline resistant, both in America and in Europe. In tested U.S. strains, this resistance is mediated by a genomic island carrying a tet(C) allele. In the present study, the ability of C. suis to mobilize tet(C) into other chlamydial species was examined. Differently antibiotic resistant strains of C. suis, C. trachomatis, and Chlamydia muridarum were used in coculture experiments to select for multiply antibiotic resistant progeny. Coinfection of mammalian cells with a naturally occurring tetracycline-resistant strain of C. suis and a C. muridarum or C. trachomatis strain containing selected mutations encoding rifampin (rifampicin) or ofloxacin resistance readily produced doubly resistant recombinant clones that demonstrated the acquisition of tetracycline resistance. The resistance phenotype in the progeny from a C. trachomatis L2/ofl(R)-C. suis R19/tet(R) cross resulted from integration of a 40-kb fragment into a single ribosomal operon of a recipient, leading to a merodiploid structure containing three rRNA operons. In contrast, a cross between C. suis R19/tet(R) and C. muridarum MoPn/ofl(R) led to a classical double-crossover event transferring 99 kb of DNA from C. suis R19/tet(R) into C. muridarum MoPn/ofl(R). Tetracycline resistance was also transferred to recent clinical strains of C. trachomatis. Successful crosses were not obtained when a rifampin-resistant Chlamydophila caviae strain was used as a recipient for crosses with C. suis or C. trachomatis. These findings provide a platform for further exploration of the biology of horizontal gene transfer in Chlamydia while bringing to light potential public health concerns generated by the possibility of acquisition of tetracycline resistance by human chlamydial pathogens.
Project description:BACKGROUND: The obligate intracellular growing bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis causes diseases like trachoma, urogenital infection and lymphogranuloma venereum with severe morbidity. Several serovars and genotypes have been identified, but these could not be linked to clinical disease or outcome. The related Chlamydophila pneumoniae, of which no subtypes are recognized, causes respiratory infections worldwide. We developed a multi locus sequence typing (MLST) scheme to understand the population genetic structure and diversity of these species and to evaluate the association between genotype and disease. RESULTS: A collection of 26 strains of C. trachomatis of different serovars and clinical presentation and 18 strains of C. pneumoniae were included in the study. For comparison, sequences of C. abortus, C. psittaci, C. caviae, C. felis, C. pecorum (Chlamydophila), C. muridarum (Chlamydia) and of Candidatus protochlamydia and Simkania negevensis were also included. Sequences of fragments (400 - 500 base pairs) from seven housekeeping genes (enoA, fumC, gatA, gidA, hemN, hlfX, oppA) were analysed. Analysis of allelic profiles by eBurst revealed three non-overlapping clonal complexes among the C. trachomatis strains, while the C. pneumoniae strains formed a single group. An UPGMA tree produced from the allelic profiles resulted in three groups of sequence types. The LGV strains grouped in a single cluster, while the urogenital strains were distributed over two separated groups, one consisted solely of strains with frequent occurring serovars (E, D and F). The distribution of the different serovars over the three groups was not consistent, suggesting exchange of serovar encoding ompA sequences. In one instance, exchange of fumC sequences between strains of different groups was observed. Cluster analyses of concatenated sequences of the Chlamydophila and Chlamydia species together with those of Candidatus Protochlamydia amoebophila and Simkania negevensis resulted in a tree identical to that obtained with 23S RNA gene sequences. CONCLUSION: These data show that C. trachomatis and C. pneumoniae are highly uniform. The difference in genetic diversity between C. trachomatis and C. pneumoniae is in concordance with a later assimilation to the human host of the latter. Our data supports the taxonomy of the order of Chlamydiales.