Haemophilus ducreyi is the etiologic agent of chancroid, a sexually transmitted genital ulcer disease that facilitates the transmission of human immunodeficiency virus. In the human model of infection, the histopathology of infected sites in part resembles a delayed-type hypersensitivity (DTH) response. In this study, T cells were isolated from skin biopsy specimens obtained from 24 subjects who were infected for 7 to 14 days. One clone and 12 lines that responded to H. ducreyi antigens were obtained from 12 of the subjects. Fluorescence-activated cell sorter analysis showed that the antigen-responsive lines and clone were predominantly CD3+ and CD4+. The lines and clone responded to H. ducreyi antigen in a dose-dependent manner and produced gamma interferon (IFN-γ) alone or IFN-γ and interleukin-10 (IL-10) but no IL-4 or IL-5 in response to H. ducreyi. Proliferation of T cells was dependent on the presence of autologous antigen-presenting cells. The lines showed little response to antigens prepared from other members of the Pasteurellaceae and responded to different fractions of H. ducreyi separated by preparative sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis. We conclude that T cells that recognize H. ducreyi antigens are recruited to sites experimentally infected with the organism. The lack of cross-reactivity to the Pasteurellaceae and the response of the lines to different antigen fractions suggest that subjects are sensitized to H. ducreyi during the course of infection.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Infectious Diseases