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Waddlia chondrophila Infects and Multiplies in Ovine Trophoblast Cells Stimulating an Inflammatory Immune Response

Wheelhouse, Nick; Coyle, Christopher; Barlow, Peter G.; Mitchell, Stephen; Greub, Gilbert; Baszler, Tim; Rae, Mick T.; Longbottom, David


Christopher Coyle

Stephen Mitchell

Gilbert Greub

Tim Baszler

David Longbottom



Waddlia chondrophila (W. chondrophila) is an emerging abortifacient organism which has been identified in the placentae of humans and cattle. The organism is a member of the order Chlamydiales, and shares many similarities at the genome level and in growth studies with other well-characterised zoonotic chlamydial abortifacients, such as Chlamydia abortus (C. abortus). This study investigates the growth of the organism and its effects upon pro-inflammatory cytokine expression in a ruminant placental cell line which we have previously utilised in a model of C. abortus pathogenicity.


Using qPCR, fluorescent immunocytochemistry and electron microscopy, we characterised the infection and growth of W. chondrophila within the ovine trophoblast AH-1 cell line. Inclusions were visible from 6 h post-infection (p.i.) and exponential growth of the organism could be observed over a 60 h time-course, with significant levels of host cell lysis being observed only after 36 h p.i. Expression of CXCL8, TNF-α, IL-1α and IL-1β were determined 24 h p.i. A statistically significant response in the expression of CXCL8, TNF-α and IL-1β could be observed following active infection with W. chondrophila. However a significant increase in IL-1β expression was also observed following the exposure of cells to UV-killed organisms, indicating the stimulation of multiple innate recognition pathways.


W. chondrophila infects and grows in the ruminant trophoblast AH-1 cell line exhibiting a complete chlamydial replicative cycle. Infection of the trophoblasts resulted in the expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines in a dose-dependent manner similar to that observed with C. abortus in previous studies, suggesting similarities in the pathogenesis of infection between the two organisms.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jun 18, 2014
Online Publication Date Jul 10, 2014
Publication Date Jul 10, 2014
Deposit Date Jul 14, 2014
Publicly Available Date Jul 14, 2014
Journal PLoS One
Print ISSN 1932-6203
Electronic ISSN 1932-6203
Publisher Public Library of Science
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 9
Issue 7
Article Number e102386
Keywords Waddlia chondrophila (W. chondrophila); abortifacient organism; Chlamydiales; zoonotic chlamydial abortifacients;
Public URL
Publisher URL
Contract Date Jul 14, 2014


Waddlia chondrophila Infects and Multiplies in Ovine Trophoblast Cells ... (1.5 Mb)

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Copyright Statement
2014 Wheelhouse et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits
unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

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