May 2012
Volume 53, Issue 6
Research Highlight  |   May 2012
Blindness-Causing Trachomatous Trichiasis Biomarkers Sighted
Author Affiliations
  • Huizhou Fan
    The Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, Piscataway, New Jersey;
Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science May 2012, Vol.53, 2560. doi:
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      Huizhou Fan; Blindness-Causing Trachomatous Trichiasis Biomarkers Sighted. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2012;53(6):2560. doi:

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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Chlamydia trachomatisassociated trachomatous trichiasis (TT) is still a major cause of blindness in some developing countries. In trials held approximately 50 years ago, some children immunized with inactivated C. trachomatis organisms developed severe ocular inflammation after later natural infection, suggesting that a safe trachoma vaccine requires the separation of protective antigens from pathogenic ones. Lu et al. 1 analyzed reactivity of sera from Gambians with history of ocular chlamydial infection with a C. trachomatis proteome and found four antigens associated with the TT group and eight with the TT-free group. This study may facilitate the understanding of the immunopathogenesis of Chlamydia diseases. Although ocular chlamydial serovars are highly similar to urogenital strains, a different set of antigens from the same proteome array assay were found to associate with C. trachomatis –induced tubal factor infertility, 2 suggesting that the site of infection may dictate the specificities of host responses. It will be worth testing whether these pathology-associated antigens truly contribute to the specific pathotypes or are merely biomarkers for the pathotypes. Furthermore, these findings have important implications for chlamydial vaccine development. First, the antigens associated with TT-free group may be candidates for developing subunit vaccines. Second, in light of a recent report on a protective effect of an attenuated live vaccine in nonhuman primates, 3 and progress in chlamydial transformation, it may now be possible to construct vaccine strains with enhanced expression of protective antigens and decreased or no expression of pathogenic antigens. 
The significant accomplishment documented in the report published by Lu et al. is a result of collaboration between a research group in Texas led by Dr. Guangming Zhong, who produced the first ever C. trachomatis whole genome scale proteome array, and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine group, which conducts field research in The Gambia. Global collaboration is a right approach for studying global diseases! 
Lu C Holland MJ Gong S Genome-wide identification of Chlamydia trachomatis antigens associated with trachomatous trichiasis. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci . 2012;53:2551–2559. [CrossRef] [PubMed]
Rodgers AK Budrys NM Gong S Genome-wide identification of Chlamydia trachomatis antigens associated with tubal factor infertility. Fertil Steril . 2011;96:715–721. [CrossRef] [PubMed]
Kari L Whitmire WM Olivares-Zavaleta N A live-attenuated chlamydial vaccine protects against trachoma in nonhuman primates. J Exp Med . 2011;208:2217–2223. [CrossRef] [PubMed]

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