BACKGROUND: Chlamydia pneumoniae is an obligate intracellular respiratory pathogen for humans. Infection by C. pneumoniae may be linked etiologically to extra-respiratory diseases of aging, especially atherosclerosis. We have previously shown that age promotes C. pneumoniae respiratory infection and extra-respiratory spread in BALB/c mice.
FINDINGS: Aged C57BL/6 mice had a greater propensity to develop chronic and/or progressive respiratory infections following experimental intranasal infection by Chlamydia pneumoniae when compared to young counterparts. A heptavalent CTL epitope minigene (CpnCTL7) vaccine conferred equal protection in the lungs of both aged and young mice. This vaccine was partially effective in protecting against C. pneumoniae spread to the cardiovascular system of young mice, but failed to provide cardiovascular protection in aged animals.
CONCLUSIONS: Our findings suggest that vaccine strategies that target the generation of a C. pneumoniae-specific CTL response can protect the respiratory system of both young and aged animals, but may not be adequate to prevent dissemination of C. pneumoniae to the cardiovascular system or control replication in those tissues in aged animals.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/dawn_shell/2/