Lactobacilli-lactoferrin interplay inChlamydia trachomatisinfection
In the cervicovaginal microenvironment, lactobacilli are known to protect against genital infections and, amongst the host defence compounds, lactoferrin has recently acquired importance for its anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties. An abnormal genital microenvironment facilitates the acquisition of pathogens like Chlamydia trachomatis, the leading cause of bacterial sexually transmitted infections worldwide. The aim of our study is to investigate the effects of Lactobacillus crispatus, Lactobacillus brevis and bovine lactoferrin on chlamydial infection, in order to shed light on the complex interplay between host defence mechanisms and C. trachomatis. We have also evaluated the effect of these defence factors to modulate the chlamydia-mediated inflammatory state. To this purpose, we have determined the infectivity and progeny production of C. trachomatis as well as interleukin-8 and interleukin-6 synthesis. The main result of our study is that the combination of L. brevis and bovine lactoferrin is the most effective in inhibiting the early phases (adhesion and invasion) of C. trachomatis infection of cervical epithelial cells and in decreasing the levels of both cytokines. In conclusion, the interaction between L. brevis and lactoferrin seems to play a role in the protection against C. trachomatis, reducing the infection and regulating the immunomodulatory activity, thus decreasing the risk of severe complications.