Cytokines and the protective host immune response to Chlamydia psittaci

Gary Entrican, J Brown, S. Graham

Research output: Contribution to journalLiterature reviewpeer-review


The immunobiology of enzootic abortion of ewes (EAE) is incompletely understood. The causative agent is Chlamydia psittaci, which infects many ruminant species and has zoonotic potential. The organism can survive in the ovine host for many months without causing clinical symptoms but does not generate a sterile immunity during this time. It has been postulated that the organism persists in the host entering at a latent phase, possibly mediated by host cytokine production. The effects of cytokines on chlamydial multiplication vary between host species, between different cell types within those species and also vary between chlamydial species and strains. The multiplication of the EAE strain of C. psittaci in ovine ST-6 cells can be restricted by interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma) but not with comparable concentrations of IFN-alpha. Altering the nutrient composition of the cultures by addition of tryptophan partially reverses the antichlamydial effects of the IFN-gamma. This offers a potential mechanism by which C. psittaci can persist in sheep. The implications of these observations for the pathogenesis of EAE are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15-26
Number of pages12
JournalComparative Immunology, Microbiology and Infectious Diseases
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1998


  • Abortion, Veterinary
  • Animals
  • Female
  • Interferon-gamma
  • Pregnancy
  • Psittacosis
  • Sheep
  • Sheep Diseases
  • Zoonoses


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