Waddlia chondrophila induces systemic infection, organ pathology, and elicits Th1-associated humoral immunity in a murine model of genital infection
Waddlia chondrophila is a known bovine abortigenic Ch/amydia-related bacterium that has been associated with adverse pregnancy outcomes in human. However, there is a lack of knowledge regarding how W chondrophila infection spreads, its ability to elicit an immune response and induce pathology. A murine model of genital infection was developed to investigate the pathogenicity and immune response associated with a W chondrophila infection. Genital inoculation of the bacterial agent resulted in a dose-dependent infection that spread to lumbar lymph nodes and successively to spleen and liver. Bacterial induced pathology peaked on day 14, characterized by leukocyte infiltration (uterine horn, liver, and spleen), necrosis (liver) and extramedullary hematopoiesis (spleen). Immunohistochemistry demonstrated the presence of a large number of W chondrophila in the spleen on day 14. Robust IgG titers were detected by day 14 and remained high until day 52. IgG isotypes consisted of high IgG2a, moderate IgG3 and no detectable IgG1, indicating a Th1-associated immune response. This study provides the first evidence that W chondrophila genital infection is capable of inducing a systemic infection that spreads to major organs, induces uterus, spleen, and liver pathology and elicits a Th1-skewed humoral response. This new animal model will help our understanding of the mechanisms related to intracellular bacteria-induced miscarriages, the most frequent complication of pregnancy that affects one in four women.