Urinary tract infections (UTIs) cause patient morbidity and have a substantial economic impact. Half of all women will suffer a UTI at least once, and 25% of these women will have recurrent infections. That 75% of previously infected women do not become reinfected strongly suggests a role for an adaptive immune response. The goal of this study was to characterize the adaptive immune responses to uropathogenic Escherichia coli (UPEC), the predominant uropathogen. A novel murine model of UTI reinfection was developed using the prototypic cystitis UPEC isolate NU14 harboring a plasmid encoding OVA as a unique antigenic marker. Bacterial colonization of the bladder was quantified following one or more infections with NU14-OVA. Animals developed anti-OVA serum IgG and IgM titers after the initial infection and marked up-regulation of activation markers on splenic T cells. We observed a 95% reduction in bacterial colonization upon reinfection, and splenic leukocytes showed Ag-specific proliferation in vitro. Adoptive transfer of splenic T cells or passive transfer of serum from previously infected mice protected naive syngeneic mice from UPEC colonization. These findings support our hypothesis that adaptive immune responses to UPEC protect the bladder from reinfection and form the basis of understanding susceptibility to recurrent UTI in women.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy