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1.  The association of metabolic syndrome and Chlamydia pneumoniae, Helicobacter pylori, cytomegalovirus, and herpes simplex virus type 1: The Persian Gulf Healthy Heart Study 
The metabolic syndrome together with insulin resistance and their consequences are basic factors in pathogenesis of atherosclerosis. Chronic infections with herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1), cytomegalovirus (CMV), and Chlamydia pneumoniae are associated with the development of atherosclerosis and coronary heart disease. The infectious aspects of metabolic syndrome have not been investigated.
In a cross-sectional, population-based study, we used National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP)-Adult Treatment Panel (ATP)-III criteria in 1791 subjects, aged 25 years and over, selected by cluster random sampling in three Iranian ports in the northern Persian Gulf. Sera were analyzed for IgG antibodies to Chlamydia pneumoniae, HSV-1, Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) and CMV using ELISA.
In multiple logistic regression analysis, of the infectious agents, CMV [OR = 1.81 (1.05–3.10); p = 0.03], H. pylori [OR = 1.50 (1.12–2.00); p = 0.007] and Chlamydia pneumoniae [OR = 1.69 (1.27–2.25); p < 0.0001] showed a significant association with the metabolic syndrome in men and HSV-1 [OR = 1.95 (1.22–3.11); p = 0.005], H. pylori [OR = 1.45 (1.09–1.94); 0.01] and Chlamydia pneumoniae [OR = 1.65 (1.23–2.21); p = 0.001] in women.
The metabolic syndrome, which occurs very frequently in the general population, has a significant association with prior infection with Chlamydia pneumoniae, Helicobacter pylori, cytomegalovirus and herpes simplex virus type 1. Hypothesis about participation of infection in pathogenesis of metabolic syndrome should be investigated.
PMCID: PMC1697801  PMID: 17140429
2.  Infectious burden and atherosclerosis: A clinical issue 
Atherosclerotic cardiovascular diseases, chronic inflammatory diseases of multifactorial etiology, are the leading cause of death worldwide. In the last decade, more infectious agents, labeled as “infectious burden”, rather than any single pathogen, have been showed to contribute to the development of atherosclerosis through different mechanisms. Some microorganisms, such as Chlamydia pneumoniae (C. pneumoniae), human cytomegalovirus, etc. may act directly on the arterial wall contributing to endothelial dysfunction, foam cell formation, smooth muscle cell proliferation, platelet aggregation as well as cytokine, reactive oxygen specie, growth factor, and cellular adhesion molecule production. Others, such as Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori), influenza virus, etc. may induce a systemic inflammation which in turn may damage the vascular wall (e.g., by cytokines and proteases). Moreover, another indirect mechanism by which some infectious agents (such as H. pylori, C. pneumoniae, periodontal pathogens, etc.) may play a role in the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis is molecular mimicry. Given the complexity of the mechanisms by which each microorganism may contribute to atherosclerosis, defining the interplay of more infectious agents is far more difficult because the pro-atherogenic effect of each pathogen might be amplified. Clearly, continued research and a greater awareness will be helpful to improve our knowledge on the complex interaction between the infectious burden and atherosclerosis.
PMCID: PMC4097149  PMID: 25032197
Infectious burden; Atherosclerosis; Bacteria; Virus; Pathogenetic mechanisms
3.  Association of cytomegalovirus and other pathogens with frailty and diabetes mellitus, but not with cardiovascular disease and mortality in psycho-geriatric patients; a prospective cohort study 
Studies about associations of infections with herpes viruses and other pathogens, such as Chlamydia pneumoniae (CP) and Helicobacter pylori (HP) with cardiovascular disease (CVD), diabetes mellitus (DM), frailty and/or mortality are conflicting. Since high levels of antibodies against these pathogens occur in the elderly, the role of these pathogens in morbidity and mortality of vulnerable elderly was explored.
Blood samples of 295 community dwelling psycho-geriatric patients were tested for IgG antibodies to herpes simplex virus type 1 and 2, varicella zoster virus, Epstein Barr virus (EBV), cytomegalovirus (CMV), human herpes virus type 6 (HHV6), CP and HP. Frailty was defined with an easy-to-use previously described frailty risk score. Relative risks (RR) with 95% confidence intervals were calculated to evaluate associations between CVD, DM, frailty and pathogens. Pathogens as a predictor for subsequent mortality were tested using Kaplan Meier analyses and Cox proportional hazard models. The mean age was 78 (SD: 6.7) years, 20% died, 44% were defined as frail, 20% had DM and 49% had CVD. Presence of CMV antibody titers was associated with frailty, as shown by using both qualitative and quantitative tests, RR ratio 1.4 (95% CI: 1.003-2.16) and RR ratio 1.5 (95% CI: 1.06-2.30), respectively. High IgG antibody titers of HHV6 and EBV were associated with DM, RR ratio 3.3 (95% CI: 1.57-6.49). None of the single or combined pathogens were significantly associated with mortality and/or CVD.
Prior CMV infection is associated with frailty, which could be in line with the concept that CMV might have an important role in immunosenescence, while high IgG titers of HHV6 and EBV are associated with DM. No association between a high pathogen burden and morbidity and/or mortality could be demonstrated.
PMCID: PMC3726516  PMID: 23880245
Herpes viruses; Cytomegalovirus; Frailty; Diabetes mellitus; Morbidity; Mortality
4.  Individual pathogens, pathogen burden, and markers of subclinical atherosclerosis: the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis 
We examined the cross-sectional relationships of subclinical atherosclerosis – expressed by carotid intimal–medial thickness and coronary calcification – with antibodies to Chlamydia pneumoniae, Helicobacter pylori, cytomegalovirus, herpes simplex virus, hepatitis A virus, and pathogen burden (number of positive pathogens). A random sample of 1056 individuals chosen from 5030 Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis cohort participants were included. After multiple adjustment, no associations were found between atherosclerosis measures and either individual pathogens or pathogen burden. Interactions with inflammatory and endothelial function markers, demographic factors, BMI, high-density lipoprotein, diabetes, and smoking were also explored. The only interaction that was large, qualitative, statistically significant (P < 0.05) and in the expected direction was that between hepatitis A virus and soluble intercellular adhesion molecule-1 with regard to Agatston calcium score: the difference between hepatitis A virus-positive and hepatitis A virus-negative participants was −86 units in participants with soluble intercellular adhesion molecule-1 below the median, and +162 units in those with soluble intercellular adhesion molecule-1 equal or above the median. However, given the number of interactions that were explored, these results must be interpreted cautiously.
Findings from the present analyses do not provide support for an infectious etiology for subclinical atherosclerosis. However, the study’s limitations, which include its cross-sectional design and insufficient statistical power, suggest that inferences from its findings should be made cautiously.
PMCID: PMC2732746  PMID: 19444130
atherosclerosis; infections; pathogens
5.  Guillain-Barre syndrome presenting with sensory disturbance following a herpes virus infection: a case report 
We present a case of an unusual clinical manifestation of Guillain-Barre syndrome following a pre-existing herpes virus infection. Although there have been several reports describing the co-existence of herpes virus infection and Guillain-Barre syndrome, we undertook a more in-depth study of the cross-reactivity between herpes viruses and recommend a follow-up study based on serology tests.
Case presentation
A 39-year-old healthy Caucasian man with Guillain-Barre syndrome presented to our facility initially with sensory disturbance, followed by an atypical descending pattern of clinical progression. On physical examination, our patient showed hot and cold temperature sensory disturbance under the T4 vertebrae level, symmetrically diminished muscle power mainly to his lower limbs, blurred vision, a loss of taste and paresis and diminished reflexes of his lower limbs. Serology test results for common viruses on hospital admission were positive for cytomegalovirus immunoglobulin M, cytomegalovirus immunoglobulin G, herpes simplex virus immunoglobulin M, herpes simplex virus immunoglobulin G, Epstein-Barr virus immunoglobulin M, and varicella zoster virus immunoglobulin G, borderline for Epstein-Barr virus immunoglobulin G and negative for varicella zoster virus immunoglobulin M. At one month after hospital admission his test results were positive for cytomegalovirus immunoglobulin M, cytomegalovirus immunoglobulin G, herpes simplex virus immunoglobulin G, Epstein-Barr virus immunoglobulin G, varicella zoster virus immunoglobulin G, borderline for herpes simplex virus immunoglobulin M and negative for Epstein-Barr virus immunoglobulin M and varicella zoster virus immunoglobulin M. At his six month follow-up, tests were positive for cytomegalovirus immunoglobulin G, herpes simplex virus immunoglobulin M, herpes simplex virus immunoglobulin G, Epstein-Barr virus immunoglobulin G and varicella zoster virus immunoglobulin G and negative for cytomegalovirus immunoglobulin M, Epstein-Barr virus immunoglobulin M and varicella zoster virus immunoglobulin M.
The clinical manifestation of Guillain-Barre syndrome in our patient followed a combined herpes virus infection. The cross-reactivity between these human herpes viruses may have a pathogenic as well as evolutionary significance. Our patient showed seroconversion at an early stage of Epstein-Barr virus immunoglobulin M to immunoglobulin G antibodies, suggesting that Epstein-Barr virus might have been the cause of this syndrome. Even if this case is not the first of its kind to be reported, it may contribute to a better understanding of the disease and the cross-reaction mechanisms of herpes virus infections. This case report may have a broader clinical impact across more than one area of medicine, suggesting that cooperation between different specialties is always in the patient's best interest.
PMCID: PMC3284537  PMID: 22136568
6.  Infectious burden and cognitive function 
Neurology  2013;80(13):1209-1215.
We hypothesized that infectious burden (IB), a composite serologic measure of exposure to common pathogens (i.e., Chlamydia pneumoniae, Helicobacter pylori, cytomegalovirus, and herpes simplex virus 1 and 2) associated with vascular risk in the prospective Northern Manhattan Study (NOMAS), would also be associated with cognition.
Cognition was assessed using the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) at enrollment and the modified Telephone Interview for Cognitive Status (TICS-m) at annual follow-up visits. Adjusted linear and logistic regressions were used to measure the association between IB index and MMSE. Generalized estimating equation models were used to evaluate associations with TICS-m and its change over time.
Serologies and cognitive assessments were available in 1,625 participants of the NOMAS cohort. In unadjusted analyses, higher IB index was associated with worse cognition (change per standard deviation [SD] of IB for MMSE was −0.77, p < 0.0001, and for first measurements of TICS-m was −1.89, p < 0.0001). These effects were attenuated after adjusting for risk factors (for MMSE adjusted change per SD of IB = −0.17, p = 0.06, for TICS-m adjusted change per SD IB = −0.68, p < 0.0001). IB was associated with MMSE ≤24 (compared to MMSE >24, adjusted odds ratio 1.26 per SD of IB, 95% confidence interval 1.06–1.51). IB was not associated with cognitive decline over time. The results were similar when IB was limited to viral serologies only.
A measure of IB associated with stroke risk and atherosclerosis was independently associated with cognitive performance in this multiethnic cohort. Past infections may contribute to cognitive impairment.
PMCID: PMC3691781  PMID: 23530151
7.  Prevalence of Helicobacter pylori, cytomegalovirus, and Chlamydia pneumoniae immunoglobulin seropositivity in coronary artery disease patients and normal individuals in North Indian population 
In present day atherosclerosis is perceived as a chronic inflammatory vascular condition and infectious diseases are believed to contribute to its pathophysiology. In this context, the microorganisms which are believed to play a role in the pathophysiology include Chlamydia pneumoniae, cytomegalovirus (CMV), and Helicobacter pylori.
A case control study (retrospective) was conducted over a two-year period. The study population was divided into two groups with 200 individuals in each group. The first group comprised cases of coronary artery disease (CAD) and the second comprised healthy controls selected from the general population after matching for age and sex. Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) was done for immunoglobulin (IgG) antibodies to H. pylori, C. pneumonia, and CMV. They were also evaluated for conventional risk factors including hypertension, diabetes, obesity, and dyslipidaemia. Epi Info™ version 6 six software was used for analysis of data. Odds ratio, χ2 for trend and multiple logistic regression analysis were used to find out statistically significant results.
Seropositivity for H. pylori was present in 119 patients of CAD (59.5%) but it was present in only 76 controls (38%) (P = 0.001). There was a statistically significant association between seropositivity for H. pylori and CAD. There was no statistically significant association between C. pneumoniae and CMV seropositivity with CAD. Multiple logistic regression analysis was done with CAD as the outcome (dependent variable). The predictor covariates (independent) variables were seropositivity to H. pylori, C. pneumoniae, and CMV, hypertension, obesity, diabetes, and dyslipidaemia. It was found that seropositivity to H. pylori, hypertension, obesity, and dyslipidaemia were significant risk factors for CAD.
Our study shows an association between IgG antibody response to H. pylori and CAD. Multiple logistic regression analysis showed that this association was retained even on comparison with the other risk factors.
PMCID: PMC3862904  PMID: 24623916
Chlamydia pneumoniae; coronary artery disease; cytomegalovirus; Helicobacter pylori
8.  Infection and Cervical Neoplasia: Facts and Fiction 
Whilst there is strong evidence that human papillomavirus (HPV) is the principal aetiological agent in cervical neoplasia, some other sexually transmitted agents may either contribute or protect against cervical carcinogenesis, such as the herpes virus family (HSV), cytomegalovirus (CMV), Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) or Chlamydia trachomatis (CT). Epidemiological studies suggest that HSV may have a role in cervical neoplasia, but there is no clear supportive experimental evidence. Serological studies have also failed to reveal a difference in the prevalence of antibodies to CMV and EBV between patients with cervical cancer and controls. However, longitudinal seroepidemiological studies have provided evidence that CT is an independent risk factor for the development of cervical squamous carcinoma and this association is serotype specific. The increased risk of cervical neoplasia in patients infected with HIV has been recognised for over a decade and HIV may interact with HPV either by alternating HPV gene transcription or by immunosuppression. Finally extensive experimental and limited epidemiological evidence suggests that adeno-associated viruses (AAV) may have antioncogenic activity in man and may protect against the development of cervical cancer. At present the mechanism of this action is unclear but may relate to AAV-induced regulation of HPV gene expression and the HPV life cycle. In this review we summarize the current literature relating to the associations and mechanisms of cervical carcinogenesis by each of these infectious microorganisms.
PMCID: PMC2491386  PMID: 18830380
Human papillomavirus (HPV); cervical neoplasia; sexually transmitted infections (STI); microbiology
9.  Detection of Chlamydia pneumoniae but not Helicobacter pylori in atherosclerotic plaques of aortic aneurysms. 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  1996;34(11):2766-2769.
Recent reports suggest an association between Chlamydia pneumoniae and Helicobacter pylori bacteria and atherosclerosis. We studied 51 patients (mean age, 68.3 years) who underwent abdominal aortic aneurysm surgery. For each patient we performed a microimmunofluorescence test for immunoglobulin G (IgG), IgA, and IgM antibodies to C. pneumoniae specific antigen (TW-183). Anti-H. pylori antibodies were determined by means of an EIA-G test. Each aortic aneurysm surgical specimen was sampled into multiple sections of 0.3 cm2 each and frozen at -20 degrees C. Two samples of each aneurysm were used for a nested PCR with two sets of C. pneumoniae and two sets of H. pylori specific primers. Specimens were treated with a solution containing 20 mM Tris-HCl, Tween 20-Nonidet P-40 (0.5% [vol/vol] each), and 100 micrograms of proteinase K per ml and incubated at 60 degrees C for 1 h and at 98 degrees C for 10 min. DNA was extracted twice with phenol-chloroform-isoamylic alcohol and precipitated with sodium acetate-ethanol by standard methods. Forty-one patients were seropositive for C. pneumoniae with past-infection patterns in 32 patients (16 < or = IgG < 512; 32 < or = IgA < 256) and high antibody titers in 9 patients (IgG > or = 512). In 26 of 51 patients, C. pneumoniae DNA was detected in aortic aneurysm plaque specimens. Of these patients, 23 had a serologic past-infection pattern, 2 had an acute reinfection pattern, and 1 was seronegative. Forty-seven of 51 patients were seropositive for H. pylori. In all cases PCR showed no evidence of H. pylori presence in plaque specimens. This study provides data on a possible C. pneumoniae involvement in the pathogenesis of aortic aneurysm and additional evidence for an association between this agent and atherosclerosis. Conversely, notwithstanding a high H. pylori seroprevalence observed, our results tend to rule out the possibility of a direct involvement of H. pylori in atherosclerosis.
PMCID: PMC229401  PMID: 8897180
10.  Acute coronary syndrome and chronic infection in the Cork coronary care case–control study 
Heart  2005;91(1):19-22.
Objective: To examine the association between chronic infection and cumulative burden of infection and acute coronary syndrome.
Design: The 5C (Cork coronary care case–control) study was a community based case–control study. Patients and controls underwent a standard physical examination and had blood samples taken for serological analysis for Helicobacter pylori (IgG), Chlamydia pneumoniae (IgA, IgM, and IgG), cytomegalovirus (IgG), and herpes simplex virus types 1 and 2 (IgG).
Setting: Patients were recruited from four hospitals in Cork City and Mallow Town. Controls, individually matched on age and sex, were selected by incident density sampling from the same general practices as the referent case.
Main outcome measures: Age and sex adjusted and fully adjusted odds ratios for acute coronary syndrome by seropositivity and by increasing number of infections.
Results: Cases and controls did not differ significantly in seropositivity to C pneumoniae, cytomegalovirus, herpes simplex viruses, and H pylori. In unconditional logistic regression analysis adjusted for age, sex, waist to hip ratio, smoking, physical activity, alcohol consumption, and social class there was no evidence of an increasing risk for acute coronary syndrome with increasing burden of infection.
Conclusions: The findings do not support an association between specific infectious agents and acute coronary syndrome and do not provide evidence of a burden of infection effect.
PMCID: PMC1768622  PMID: 15604325
coronary heart disease; infection; case–control study; acute coronary syndrome
11.  Detection of Chlamydia pneumoniae and Helicobacter pylori DNA in Human Atherosclerotic Plaques by PCR 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2000;38(12):4408-4411.
Chlamydia pneumoniae and Helicobacter pylori can cause persistent infections of the respiratory and gastrointestinal tract, respectively. It has been suggested that persistent infection of arteries with these bacteria can contribute to the development of atherosclerosis. The aims of this study were to determine the presence of C. pneumoniae and H. pylori DNA in atherosclerotic plaque samples by PCR and to evaluate the correlation between clinical status and DNA positivity of these bacteria. Eighty-five consecutive patients (mean age, 59 ± 10; 75 male, 10 female) undergoing coronary artery bypass grafting, carotid endarterectomy, and surgery of the abdominal aorta for atherosclerotic obstructive lesions were included in the study. Forty-six endarterectomy specimens from the atherosclerotic lesions and 39 specimens from healthy regions of the ascending aorta, which were accepted as the control group, were excised. The presence of microorganism DNA in endarterectomy specimens was assessed by PCR. C. pneumoniae DNA was found in 12 (26%) of 46 endarterectomy specimens and none of the healthy vascular-wall specimens (P < 0.001), while H. pylori DNA was found in 17 (37%) of 46 endarterectomy specimens and none of the controls (P < 0.001). Either C. pneumoniae or H. pylori DNA was positive in 23 (50%) of 46 patients and none of the controls (P < 0.001). Six of the atherosclerotic lesions showed coexistence of both of the microorganism DNAs. The presence of C. pneumoniae and H. pylori DNA in a considerable number of atherosclerotic plaques but their absence in healthy vascular wall supports the idea that they may have a role in the development of atherosclerosis, especially in countries where infection is prevalent and where conventional risk factors fail to explain the high prevalence of atherosclerotic vascular disease.
PMCID: PMC87613  PMID: 11101572
12.  Emerging relations between infectious diseases and coronary artery disease and atherosclerosis 
Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in developed countries. The cause is multifactorial. A substantial proportion of patients with coronary artery disease (CAD) do not have traditional risk factors. Infectious diseases may play a role in these cases, or they may intensify the effect of other risk factors. The association of CAD and Chlamydia pneumoniae infection is firmly established, but causality is yet to be proven. The link with other infectious agents or conditions, such as cytomegalovirus, herpes simplex virus, Helicobacter pylori and periodontitis, is more controversial. Cytomegalovirus infection is more strongly linked than native CAD to coronary artery restenosis after angioplasty and to accelerated CAD after cardiac transplantation. However, new data on this topic are appearing in the literature almost every month. The potential for novel therapeutic management of cardiovascular disease and stroke is great if infection is proven to cause or accelerate CAD or atherosclerosis. However, physicians should not "jump the gun" and start using antibiotic therapy prematurely for CAD. The results of large randomized clinical trials in progress will help establish causality and the benefits of antimicrobial therapy in CAD.
PMCID: PMC1232552  PMID: 10920732
13.  The influence of persistent pathogens on circulating levels of inflammatory markers: a cross-sectional analysis from the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis 
BMC Public Health  2010;10:706.
Systemic inflammation is linked to cardiovascular risk, but the influence of persistent pathogens, which are conventionally dichotomously categorized, on circulating levels of inflammatory markers is not clear. Antibody levels of pathogens have not been examined in relation to inflammation.
Using data from a subsample of the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis, we examined circulating levels of interleukin-6 (IL-6), C-reactive protein (CRP) and fibrinogen in relation to five common persistent pathogens: cytomegalovirus, herpes simplex virus-1, Hepatitis A virus, Helicobacter pylori and Chlamydia pneumoniae. We tested the hypothesis that the number of seropositive pathogens (based on conventional cut-off points) would not be as sensitive a marker of inflammation as immune response measured by antibody levels to pathogens.
High antibody response to multiple pathogens showed graded and significant associations with IL-6 (p < 0.001), CRP (p = 0.04) and fibrinogen (p = 0.001), whereas seropositive pathogen burden did not. In multiple linear regression models, high antibody response to multiple pathogens maintained a positive association only with IL-6 (4.4% per pathogen exhibiting high antibody response, 95% CI 0.0-8.9).
High antibody response to pathogens was a more consistent marker of inflammatory outcomes compared to seropositivity alone and high antibody response to multiple pathogens was a stronger marker compared to any single pathogen.
PMCID: PMC2996373  PMID: 21083905
14.  Infectious Burden and Carotid Plaque Thickness: The Northern Manhattan Study 
The overall burden of prior infections may contribute to atherosclerosis and stroke risk. We hypothesized that serological evidence of common infections would be associated with carotid plaque thickness in a multi-ethnic cohort.
Antibody titers to five common infectious microorganisms (i.e. Chlamydia pneumoniae, Helicobacter pylori, cytomegalovirus, and herpesvirus 1 and 2) were measured among stroke-free community participants, and a weighted index of infectious burden (IB) was calculated based on Cox models previously derived from for the association of each infection with stroke risk. High-resolution carotid duplex Doppler studies were used to assess maximum carotid plaque thickness (MCPT). Weighted least squares regression was used to measure the association between IB and MCPT after adjusting for other risk factors.
Serological results for all five infectious organisms were available in 861 participants with MCPT measurements available (mean age 67.2+/−9.6 yrs). Each individual infection was associated with stroke risk after adjusting for other risk factors. The IB index (n=861) had a mean of 1.00 ± standard deviation 0.35, median 1.08. Plaque was present in 52% of participants (mean 0.90+/−1.04 mm). IB was associated with MCPT (adjusted increase in MCPT 0.09 mm, 95% confidence interval 0.03–0.15 mm, per standard deviation increase of IB).
A quantitative weighted index of infectious burden, derived from the magnitude of association of individual infections with stroke, was associated with carotid plaque thickness in this multi-ethnic cohort. These results lend support to the notion that past or chronic exposure to common infections, perhaps by exacerbating inflammation, contributes to atherosclerosis. Future studies are needed to confirm this hypothesis and to define optimal measures of infectious burden as a vascular risk factor.
PMCID: PMC2830875  PMID: 20075350
15.  Pathogen burden, cytomegalovirus infection and inflammatory markers in the risk of premature coronary artery disease in individuals of Indian origin 
Coronary artery disease (CAD) occurs at an earlier age in South Asians compared with other ethnic groups. Infection and inflammation show a positive association with the disease.
To investigate the association of infection and inflammatory markers with premature CAD in the Indian Atherosclerosis Research Study population.
Antibody titres for Chlamydia pneumoniae, cytomegalovirus (CMV), Helicobacter pylori, herpes simplex virus and levels of interleukin-6 (IL-6), high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP), fibrinogen and secretory phospholipase A2, were measured in 866 individuals (433 CAD patients and matched controls). All individuals were followed-up for recurrent cardiac events for four years. ANOVA was used to study the association of infection and inflammation with CAD.
The present study found that the odds of CAD occurrence was 2.42 (95% CI 1.26 to 4.64; P<0.008), with all four infections and increased in the presence of hsCRP (OR 4.67 [95% CI 1.43 to 15.25]); P=0.011). Only anti-CMV antibody levels were a significant risk factor for CAD occurrence (OR 2.23 [95% CI 1.20 to 4.15]; P=0.011) and recurrent cardiac events (OR 1.94 [95% CI 0.85 to 4.45]; P=0.015). Mean values of the inflammatory biomarkers IL-6 (P=0.035), fibrinogen (P=0.014), hsCRP (P=0.010) and secretory phospholipase A2 (P=0.002) increased with CMV antibody levels. Incorporating hsCRP and IL-6 in the risk prediction models significantly increased the OR to 2.56 (95% CI 1.16 to 5.63; P=0.019) with a c statistic of 0.826.
Pathogen burden, especially CMV infection in combination with inflammatory markers, is a significant predictor of CAD risk in the young Indian population.
PMCID: PMC3395457  PMID: 22826649
Coronary artery disease; C-reactive protein; Cytomegalovirus; Inflammatory markers; Pathogen burden
16.  Socioeconomic and Psychosocial Gradients in Cardiovascular Pathogen Burden and Immune Response: The Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis 
Brain, behavior, and immunity  2008;23(5):663-671.
The biologic mechanisms linking socioeconomic position and psychosocial factors to cardiovascular disease (CVD) are not well understood. Immune response to persistent pathogens may be one of these mechanisms.
We analyzed cross-sectional data from the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (N=999) composed of adults age 45–84. Log-binomial regression and ordinal logistic regression models were used to examine associations of socioeconomic factors and psychosocial factors with pathogen burden and immune response among those infected. Pathogen burden was assessed based on seroprevalence of Helicobacter pylori, cytomegalovirus, herpes simplex virus-1, and Chlamydia pneumoniae and antibody levels were used to characterize high immune response to all four pathogens.
Low education was a strong and significant independent predictor of higher pathogen burden after adjustment for covariates (adjusted odds ratio (OR) 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.37, 1.19–1.57). Among subjects seropositive for all four pathogens, low education and a higher level of chronic psychosocial stress showed a positive association with higher antibody response, although associations were no longer significant in models with all covariates included (OR = 1.64, 95%CI 0.82–3.31 for lowest vs. highest educational category and OR= 1.29, 95%CI 0.96–1.73 for a one level increase in chronic stress).
Pathogen burden and heightened immune response may represent a biological pathway by which low socioeconomic position and chronic stress are related to increased rates of cardiovascular disease.
PMCID: PMC2694852  PMID: 19150399
Infection; inflammation; epidemiology; cardiovascular diseases
17.  The Role of Infectious Agents in the Etiology of Ocular Adnexal Neoplasia 
Survey of ophthalmology  2008;53(4):312-331.
Given the fact that infectious agents contribute to around 18% of human cancers worldwide, it would seem prudent to explore their role in neoplasms of the ocular adnexa: primary malignancies of the conjunctiva, lacrimal glands, eyelids, and orbit. By elucidating the mechanisms by which infectious agents contribute to oncogenesis, the management, treatment, and prevention of these neoplasms may one day parallel what is already in place for cancers such as cervical cancer, hepatocellular carcinoma, gastric mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue lymphoma and gastric adenocarcinoma. Antibiotic treatment and vaccines against infectious agents may herald a future with a curtailed role for traditional therapies of surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy. Unlike other malignancies for which large epidemiological studies are available, analyzing ocular adnexal neoplasms is challenging as they are relatively rare. Additionally, putative infectious agents seemingly display an immense geographic variation that has led to much debate regarding the relative importance of one organism versus another. This review discusses the pathogenetic role of several microorganisms in different ocular adnexal malignancies, including human papilloma virus in conjunctival papilloma and squamous cell carcinoma, human immunodeficiency virus in conjunctival squamous carcinoma, Kaposi sarcoma-associated herpes virus or human herpes simplex virus-8 (KSHV/HHV-8) in conjunctival Kaposi sarcoma, Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori,), Chlamydia, and hepatitis C virus in ocular adnexal mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue lymphomas. Unlike cervical cancer where a single infectious agent, human papilloma virus, is found in greater than 99% of lesions, multiple organisms may play a role in the etiology of certain ocular adnexal neoplasms by acting through similar mechanisms of oncogenesis, including chronic antigenic stimulation and the action of infectious oncogenes. However, similar to other human malignancies, ultimately the role of infectious agents in ocular adnexal neoplasms is most likely as a cofactor to genetic and environmental risk factors.
PMCID: PMC2507724  PMID: 18572051
Chlamydia psittaci (C. psittaci); Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori); human herpes simplex virus-8 (HHV-8); human papilloma virus (HPV); Kaposi sarcoma; MALT lymphoma; ocular adnexa; papilloma; squamous cell carcinoma
18.  Increased Carotid Intima-Media Thickness Associated with Antibody Responses to Varicella-Zoster Virus and Cytomegalovirus in HIV-Infected Patients 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(5):e64327.
We investigated the relationship of the Herpesviridiae with inflammation and subclinical atherosclerosis in HIV-infected patients.
Prospective study including virologically suppressed HIV-infected patients. IgG antibodies against herpesviruses, carotid intima-media thickness (cIMT), endothelial function through flow-mediated dilatation (FMD) of the brachial artery, and blood atherosclerosis biomarkers (hsCRP, TNF-α, IL-6, MCP-1, MDA, sCD14, sCD163, VCAM-1, ICAM-1, D-dimer, and PAI-1) were measured.
136 patients with HIV viral load <200 copies/ml were included. 93.4% patients were infected with herpes simplex virus type-1, 55.9% with herpes simplex virus type-2, 97.1% with varicella-zoster virus, 65.4% with human herpesvirus-6, 91.2% with cytomegalovirus, and 99.3% with Epstein-Barr virus. Previous AIDS diagnosis was associated with higher cytomegalovirus IgG titers (23,000 vs 17,000 AU, P = 0.011) and higher varicella-zoster virus IgG titers (3.19 vs 2.88 AU, P = 0.047), and there was a positive correlation of the Framingham risk score with IgG levels against cytomegalovirus (Spearman's Rho 0.216, P = 0.016) and Herpes simplex virus-2 (Spearman's Rho 0.293, P = 0.001). IgG antibodies against cytomegalovirus correlated in adjusted analysis with the cIMT (P = 0.030). High seropositivity for varicella-zoster virus (OR 2.91, 95% CI 1.05–8.01, P = 0.039), and for cytomegalovirus (OR 3.79, 95% CI 1.20–11.97, P = 0.023) were predictors for the highest quartile of the cIMT in adjusted analyses. PAI-1 levels were independently associated with cytomegalovirus IgG titers (P = 0.041), IL-6 and ICAM-1 levels with varicella-zoster virus IgG (P = 0.046 and P = 0.035 respectively), and hsCRP levels with Herpes simplex virus-2 IgG (P = 0.035).
In virologically suppressed HIV-infected patients, antibody responses against herpesviruses are associated with subclinical atherosclerosis, and with increased inflammation and coagulation biomarkers.
PMCID: PMC3662719  PMID: 23717597
19.  Measles virus serology in Crohn's disease. 
Gut  1997;41(1):66-69.
BACKGROUND: There is evidence that measles virus infection in early life may predispose to Crohn's disease. AIMS: To examine using serological methods a potential association between measles virus infection in early life and predisposition to Crohn's disease. SUBJECTS: Forty five patients with Crohn's disease and forty five healthy controls were studied prospectively. METHODS: Clinical data were recorded and serum was analysed for measles virus, cytomegalovirus (CMV), adenovirus and herpes simplex virus (HSV) antibody titres by a complement fixation test (CFT), and for measles virus IgM by enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). RESULTS: Reciprocal CFT titres for measles virus were lower in patients with Crohn's disease compared with controls (p < 0.05); there was no significant difference in titres for other viruses. None of the subjects studied had a level of measles virus IgM suggestive of acute infection, and there was no significant difference in measles virus IgM levels between patients and controls. The measles virus CFT titres and IgM levels in the patients with Crohn's disease did not correlate with any of the clinical features recorded. CONCLUSION: This study does not provide supportive evidence for a role for measles virus in the aetiology of Crohn's disease.
PMCID: PMC1027230  PMID: 9274474
20.  Serologic Evidence of Infections and Type 2 Diabetes: The MultiEthnic Study of Atherosclerosis 
Prospective studies have identified chronic inflammation as a risk factor for type 2 diabetes. However, it is not known whether infection by specific pathogens or having a greater “pathogen burden” is associated with diabetes. The aim of this study was to examine the cross-sectional relation of seropositivity to five pathogens (C. pneumoniae, cytomegalovirus, H. pylori, hepatitis A virus, herpes simplex virus) and prevalent diabetes.
Baseline data from a random sample of MultiEthnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) participants (n=1,000; age: 45-84) were used. Diabetes was defined by ADA 2003 criteria, and “pathogen burden” by the number of pathogens (0–5) for which an individual was seropositive. Logistic regression was used to test differences in diabetes prevalence by seropositivity. Linear regression was used to explore associations between pathogen seropositivity and the inflammation markers CRP, IL-6, and fibrinogen.
Diabetes prevalence was 12.7%, while seropositivity for C. pnuemoniae was 76%, cytomegalovirus 77%, H. pylori 45%, hepatitis A 58%, and herpes simplex virus 85%. 72% were seropositive for ≥3 pathogens. In crude analyses, the prevalence of diabetes was higher among those with a pathogen burden ≥3, and with seropositivity to cytomegalovirus, H. pylori, hepatitis A, and herpes simplex virus. After adjustment for demographic covariates (particularly race) all associations became nonsignificant. Pathogen seropositivity was also not related to inflammation marker levels.
Following demographic adjustments, no associations were observed between infection by several pathogens and diabetes status, suggesting no etiologic role for them in the occurrence of diabetes.
PMCID: PMC2679689  PMID: 19236617
diabetes; infection; pathogen; seropositivity
21.  Infectious Agents are Associated with Psychiatric Diseases 
Mental Illness  2012;4(1):e10.
There are several infectious agents in the environment that can cause persistent infections in the host. They usually cause their symptoms shortly after first infection and later persist as silent viruses and bacteria within the body. However, these chronic infections may play an important role in the pathogenesis of schizophrenia and Tourette’s syndrome (TS). We investigated the distribution of different neurotrophic infectious agents in TS, schizophrenia and controls. A total of 93 individuals were included (schizophrenic patients, Tourette patients and controls). We evaluated antibodies against cytomegalovirus (CMV), herpes-simplex virus (HSV), Epstein-Barr virus, Toxoplasma, Mycoplasma and Chlamydia trachomatis/pneumoniae. By comparing schizophrenia and TS, we found a higher prevalence of HSV (P=0.017) and CMV (P=0.017) antibodies in schizophrenic patients. Considering the relationship between schizophrenia, TS and healthy controls, we showed that there are associations for Chlamydia trachomatis (P=0.007), HSV (P=0.027) and CMV (P=0.029). When all measured viruses, bacteria and protozoa were combined, schizophrenic patients had a higher rate of antibodies to infectious agents than TS patients (P=0.049). Tourette and schizophrenic patients show a different vulnerability to infectious agents. Schizophrenic patients were found to have a higher susceptibility to viral infections than individuals with TS. This finding might point to a modification in special immune parameters in these diseases.
PMCID: PMC4253361  PMID: 25478103
tourette’s syndrome; schizophrenia; infectious agents
22.  Potential Infectious Etiology of Behçet's Disease 
Behçet's disease is a multisystem inflammatory disorder characterized by recurrent oral aphthous ulcers, genital ulcers, uveitis, and skin lesions. The cause of Behçet's disease remains unknown, but epidemiologic findings suggest that an autoimmune process is triggered by an environmental agent in a genetically predisposed individual. An infectious agent could operate through molecular mimicry, and subsequently the disease could be perpetuated by an abnormal immune response to an autoantigen in the absence of ongoing infection. Potentia bacterial are Saccharomyces cerevisiae, mycobacteria, Borrelia burgdorferi, Helicobacter pylori, Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus, and Mycoplasma fermentans, but the most commonly investigated microorganism is Streptococcus sanguinis. The relationship between streptococcal infections and Behçet's disease is suggested by clinical observations that an unhygienic oral condition is frequently noted in the oral cavity of Behçet's disease patients. Several viral agents, including herpes simplex virus-1, hepatitis C virus, parvovirus B19, cytomegalovirus, Epstein-Barr virus and varicella zoster virus, may also have some role.
PMCID: PMC3255303  PMID: 22254152
23.  Genetic Factors Influence Serological Measures of Common Infections 
Human Heredity  2011;72(2):133-141.
Antibodies against infectious pathogens provide information on past or present exposure to infectious agents. While host genetic factors are known to affect the immune response, the influence of genetic factors on antibody levels to common infectious agents is largely unknown. Here we test whether antibody levels for 13 common infections are significantly heritable.
IgG antibodies to Chlamydophila pneumoniae, Helicobacter pylori, Toxoplasma gondii, adenovirus 36 (Ad36), hepatitis A virus, influenza A and B, cytomegalovirus, Epstein-Barr virus, herpes simplex virus (HSV)-1 and −2, human herpesvirus-6, and varicella zoster virus were determined for 1,227 Mexican Americans. Both quantitative and dichotomous (seropositive/seronegative) traits were analyzed. Influences of genetic and shared environmental factors were estimated using variance components pedigree analysis, and sharing of underlying genetic factors among traits was investigated using bivariate analyses.
Serological phenotypes were significantly heritable for most pathogens (h2 = 0.17–0.39), except for Ad36 and HSV-2. Shared environment was significant for several pathogens (c2 = 0.10–0.32). The underlying genetic etiology appears to be largely different for most pathogens.
Our results demonstrate, for the first time for many of these pathogens, that individual genetic differences of the human host contribute substantially to antibody levels to many common infectious agents, providing impetus for the identification of underlying genetic variants, which may be of clinical importance.
PMCID: PMC3214928  PMID: 21996708
Pathogen; Infection; Antibody; Serology; Genetics; Heritability; Mexican Americans
24.  The prospective association of Chlamydia pneumoniae and four other pathogens with development of coronary artery calcium: the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) 
Atherosclerosis  2013;230(2):10.1016/j.atherosclerosis.2013.07.053.
Previous basic and cross-sectional studies obtained conflicting results regarding the association of pathogens with coronary artery calcium (CAC). The aim of this study is to prospectively evaluate this association in a population-based cohort.
We examined 5,744 individuals aged 45-84 years at baseline (2000-02) who underwent repeated CAC assessment on average 2.4 years later (a half at visit 2 [2002-04] and the other half at visit 3 [2004-05]). CAC incidence was defined as newly detectable CAC at follow-up (475 cases of 2,942 participants). CAC progression was defined as annualized change in CAC Agatston score ≥10 units/year if baseline CAC score >0 to <100 or ≥10%/year if baseline score ≥100 (1,537 cases of 2,802 participants). Seropositivity was assessed in the entire cohort for Chlamydia pneumonia and in a random sample (n=873) for Helicobacter pylori, cytomegalovirus, herpes simplex virus, and hepatitis A virus.
Seropositivity to Chlamydia pneumoniae was not significantly associated with CAC incidence (odds ratio [OR] 1.11 [95% CI, 0.88-1.39], P=0.371) or progression (1.14 [0.96-1.36], P=0.135) even in unadjusted models. When CAC incidence and progression were combined, we observed significant association with Chlamydia pneumoniae seropositivity before adjustment (OR 1.17 [1.03-1.33], P=0.016) but not in a model adjusting for traditional risk factors (1.04 [0.90-1.19], P=0.611). The results were consistent across subgroups according to age, sex, and race/ethnicity. None of five pathogens or their accrual was associated with CAC incidence and progression in the subsample.
Our prospective study does not support the pathophysiological involvement of these pathogens in CAC development.
PMCID: PMC3815605  PMID: 24075755
Coronary Calcium; Atherosclerosis; Pathogens; Infection
25.  Antigen-Induced Immunomodulation in the Pathogenesis of Atherosclerosis 
Atherosclerosis is a chronic inflammatory disorder characterised by the accumulation of monocytes/macrophages, smooth muscle cells, and lymphocytes within the arterial wall in response to the release of proinflammatory molecules. Such accumulation results in the formation of the atherosclerotic plaque, which would eventually evolve to complications such as total artery occlusion, rupture, calcification, or aneurysm. Although the molecular mechanism responsible for the development of atherosclerosis is not completely understood, it is clear that the immune system plays a key role in the development of the atherosclerotic plaque and in its complications. There are multiple antigenic stimuli that have been associated with the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis. Most of these stimuli come from modified self-molecules such as oxidised low-density lipoproteins (oxLDLs), beta2glycoprotein1 (β2GP1), lipoprotein a (LP(a)), heat shock proteins (HSPs), and protein components of the extracellular matrix such as collagen and fibrinogen in the form of advanced glycation-end (AGE) products. In addition, several foreign antigens including bacteria such as Porphyromonas gingivalis and Chlamydia pneumoniae and viruses such as enterovirus and cytomegalovirus have been associated with atherosclerosis as potentially causative or bystander participants, adding another level of complexity to the analysis of the pathophysiology of atherosclerosis. The present review summarises the most important scientific findings published within the last two decades on the importance of antigens, antigen stimulation, and adaptive immune responses in the development of atherosclerotic plaques.
PMCID: PMC2423423  PMID: 18551190

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