Cytotoxic and immunoregulatory function of intestinal lymphocytes in Chlamydia trachomatis proctitis of nonhuman primates

S. P. James, A. S. Graeff, M. Zeitz, E. Kappus, T. C. Quinn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


To study the role of natural killer cells and immunoregulatory T cells in the pathogenesis of proctitis due to Chlamydia trachomatis (L2 serovar), lymphocytes were obtained from the rectal mucosa and other sites of nonhuman primates and studied by using phenotypic and functional assays. In animals with lymphogranuloma venereum (LGV) proctitis, the percentage of lymphocytes with the natural killer cell phenotype (Leu-11+) was not significantly higher at any site in LGV infection, and natural killer cell function of lymphocytes isolated from the rectum was lower during LGV infection. This was not due to the suppressive effect of factors in serum, rectal lymphocytes, or LGV elementary bodies. In studies of regulatory T cells, the Leu-3+/Leu-2+ ratio was lower in the peripheral blood and the spleen during LGV infection, but the ratio did not decrease in lamina propria T cells. Both peripheral blood and rectal lymphocytes had higher helper T-cell function for polyclonal immunoglobulin G (IgG) synthesis in pokeweed mitogen-stimulated cultures 2 weeks following LGV infection. Increased suppressor T-cell function for pokeweed mitogen-stimulated IgG synthesis was found only in the peripheral blood of animals 2 weeks after infection, but not in isolated rectal lymphocytes. These results indicate that in LGV proctitis natural killer cells are not an important component of the inflammatory infiltrate at the site of infection, and helper T-cell function increases in peripheral blood and rectal lymphocytes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1137-1143
Number of pages7
JournalInfection and immunity
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jun 26 1987
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Infectious Diseases


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