Guinea pigs have been used as a second animal model to validate putative antichlamydial vaccine candidates tested in mice. However, the lack of guinea pig-specific reagents has limited the utility of this animal model in Chlamydia sp. vaccine studies. Using a novel guinea pig-specific transcriptome array, we determined correlates of protection in guinea pigs vaccinated with Chlamydia caviae (C. caviae) via the intranasal route, previously reported by us and others to provide robust antigen specific immunity against subsequent intravaginal challenge. C. caviae vaccinated guinea pigs resolved genital infection by day 3 post challenge. In contrast, mock vaccinated animals continued to shed viable Chlamydia up to day 18 post challenge. Importantly, at day 80 post challenge, vaccinated guinea pigs experienced significantly reduced genital pathology - a sequelae of genital chlamydial infections, in comparison to mock vaccinated guinea pigs. Sera from vaccinated guinea pigs displayed antigen specific IgG responses and increased IgG1 and IgG2 titers capable of neutralizing GPIC in vitro. Th1-cellular/inflammatory immune genes and Th2-humoral associated genes were also found to be elevated in vaccinated guinea pigs at day 3 post-challenge and correlated with early clearance of the bacterium. Overall, this study provides the first evidence of guinea pig-specific genes involved in anti-chlamydial vaccination and illustrates the enhancement of the utility of this animal model in chlamydial pathogenesis.
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