Sex Transm Infect doi:10.1136/sextrans-2012-050785
  • Basic science
  • Short report

Observation of a cytopathogenic effect on cell lines used for routine viral cultures led to the diagnosis of lymphogranuloma venereum

  1. Olivier Vandenberg1,3
  1. 1Department of Microbiology, Porte de Hal Laboratory, Saint-Pierre University Hospital & Jules Bordet Institute, Brussels, Belgium
  2. 2HIV/STI Reference Laboratory, Institute of Tropical Medicine, Antwerpen, Belgium
  3. 3Infectious Diseases Epidemiological Unit, Public Health School, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Brussels, Belgium
  1. Correspondence to Dr Laurent Busson, Department of Microbiology, Saint-Pierre University Hospital, Rue Haute 322, Brussels 1000, Belgium; laurent_busson{at}
  • Received 3 August 2012
  • Revised 18 October 2012
  • Accepted 11 November 2012
  • Published Online First 6 December 2012


Objectives This article reports the fortuitous recovery of nine Chlamydia trachomatis serovar L strains in cell cultures (Vero and LLC-MK2 cell line) designed for viral culture.

Methods Nine ano-genital swabs were inoculated on confluent Vero, MRC5 and LLC-MK2 cell cultures. They were collected from HIV-positive patients who were primarily men who have sex with men (MSM) presenting ulcerations that mimicked herpes simplex infections.

Results A cytopathogenic effect was observed on Vero and LLC-MK2 cells on day 14. The presence of C trachomatis serovar L in the cell lines was confirmed by Real Time–PCR.

Conclusions C trachomatis serovar L can grow on Vero and LLC-MK2 cell lines designed for viral cultures. Lymphogranuloma venereum must be considered as a differential diagnosis for herpes-like lesions, particularly in MSM with high-risk behaviours.

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