Open Access Research article

Serovar D and E of serogroup B induce highest serological responses in urogenital Chlamydia trachomatis infections

Stephan P Verweij1, Esmée Lanjouw2, Caroline J Bax34, Koen D Quint56, Paul M Oostvogel7, P Joep Dörr3, Jolein Pleijster1, Henry JC de Vries1089, Remco PH Peters1112, Sander Ouburg1 and Servaas A Morré113*

Author Affiliations

1 Laboratory of Immunogenetics, Department of Medical Microbiology and Infection Control, VU University Medical Center, De Boelelaan 1117, 1081, HV, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

2 Department of Dermatology, Erasmus Medical Center Rotterdam, Rotterdam, The Netherlands

3 Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, MC Haaglanden Hospital, The Hague, The Netherlands

4 Department of Obstetrics, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

5 DDL Diagnostic Laboratory, Rijswijk, The Netherlands

6 Department of Dermatology, Leiden University Medical Centre, Leiden, The Netherlands

7 Department of Medical Microbiology, MC Haaglanden Hospital, The Hague, The Netherlands

8 STI outpatient clinic, Cluster Infectious Diseases, Public Health Service Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

9 Department of Dermatology, Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

10 Centre for Infection and Immunity Amsterdam (CINIMA), Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

11 The Hague Municipal Health Service, The Hague, The Netherlands

12 Anova Health Institute, Khutšo Kurhula Offices, Tzaneen, South Africa

13 Institute of Public Health Genomics, Department of Genetics and Cell Biology, Research Institute GROW, Faculty of Health, Medicine & Life Sciences, University of Maastricht, Maastricht, The Netherlands

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BMC Infectious Diseases 2014, 14:3  doi:10.1186/1471-2334-14-3

Published: 2 January 2014



Chlamydia trachomatis is the most prevalent bacterial sexually transmitted infection (STI) worldwide. A strong link between C. trachomatis serogroup/serovar and serological response has been suggested in a previous preliminary study. The aim of the current study was to confirm and strengthen those findings about serological IgG responses in relation to C. trachomatis serogroups and serovars.


The study population (n = 718) consisted of two patient groups with similar characteristics of Dutch STI clinic visitors. We performed genotyping of serovars and used titre based and quantitative commercially available ELISA kits (medac Diagnostika) to determine specific serum IgG levels. Optical density (OD) values generated by both tests were used to calculate the IgG titres (cut-off 1:50). Analyses were conducted stratified by gender.


We observed very significant differences when comparing the median IgG titres of three serogroups, B, C and I: in women for B vs. C: p < 0.0001 (median titres B 200 vs. C <50); B vs. I: p < 0.0001 (200 vs. 50), and in men for B vs. C: p = 0.0006 (150 vs. <50); B vs. I: p = 0.0001 (150 vs. <50); C vs. I was not significant for both sexes. Serovars D and E of serogroup B had the highest median IgG titres compared to the other serovars in both men and women: 200 and 200 vs. ≤ 100 for women and 100 and 200 vs. ≤ 75 for men, respectively.


This study shows that B group serovars induce higher serological responses compared to the C and I group serovars in vivo in both men and women.

Chlamydia trachomatis; Serological response; Serovar; Serogroup; IgG; Antibodies