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.
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.
atherosclerosis; infections; pathogens
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.
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.
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.
Coronary artery disease; C-reactive protein; Cytomegalovirus; Inflammatory markers; Pathogen burden
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.
Infection; inflammation; epidemiology; cardiovascular diseases
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.
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.
Pathogen; Infection; Antibody; Serology; Genetics; Heritability; Mexican Americans
Common infections may be associated with stroke risk, though no single infection is likely a major independent predictor.
To determine the association between a composite measure of serologies to common infections (Chlamydia pneumoniae, Helicobacter pylori, cytomegalovirus, Herpes Simplex Virus 1 and 2) and stroke risk in a prospective cohort study.
Prospective cohort followed longitudinally for median 8 years.
Randomly selected stroke-free participants from a multiethnic urban community.
Northern Manhattan Study (NOMAS).
Main Outcome measure
Incident stroke and other vascular events.
All five infectious serologies were available from baseline samples in 1625 participants (mean age 68.5 ± 10.1 years; 64.9% women). Cox proportional hazards models were used to estimate associations of each positive serology with stroke. Individual parameter estimates were then combined into a weighted index of infectious burden (IB) and used to calculate hazard ratios and confidence intervals (HR, 95% CI) for association with risk of stroke and other outcomes, adjusted for risk factors. Each individual infection was positively though not significantly associated with stroke risk after adjusting for other risk factors. The IB index was associated with an increased risk of all strokes (adjusted HR per standard deviation 1.39, 95% CI 1.02–1.90) after adjusting for demographics and risk factors. Results were similar after excluding those with coronary disease (adjusted HR 1.50, 95% CI 1.05–2.13) and adjusting for inflammatory biomarkers.
A quantitative weighted index of infectious burden was associated with risk of first stroke in this cohort. Future studies are needed to confirm these findings and to further define optimal measures of IB as a stroke risk factor.
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.
coronary heart disease; infection; case–control study; acute coronary syndrome
Infection risks vary among individuals and between populations. Here we present information on the seroprevalence of 13 common infectious agents in a San Antonio-based sample of Mexican Americans. Mexican Americans represent the largest and most rapidly growing minority population in the U.S., and they are also considered a health disparities population.
We analyzed 1227 individuals for antibody titer to Chlamydophila pneumoniae, Helicobacter pylori, Toxoplasma gondii, cytomegalovirus, Epstein-Barr virus, herpes simplex virus-1, herpes simplex virus-2 (HSV-2), human herpesvirus-6 (HHV-6), varicella zoster virus (VZV), adenovirus-36, hepatitis A virus, and influenza A and B. Seroprevalence was examined as a function of sex, age, household income, and education.
Seroprevalence estimates ranged from 9% for T. gondii to 92% for VZV, and were similar in both sexes except for HSV-2, which was more prevalent in women. Many pathogens exhibited a significant seroprevalence change over the examined age range (15-94 years), with 7 pathogens increasing and HHV-6 decreasing with age. Socioeconomic status significantly correlated with serostatus for some pathogens.
Our findings demonstrate substantial seroprevalence rates of these common infections in this sample of Mexican Americans from San Antonio, Texas that suffers from high rates of chronic diseases including obesity and type-2 diabetes.
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.
Human papillomavirus (HPV); cervical neoplasia; sexually transmitted infections (STI); microbiology
Helicobacter pylori is a Gram-negative, spiral-shaped microorganism associated with acute and chronic gastritis, peptic ulcer, gastric cancer and gastric lymphomas in humans. H. pylori neutrophil-activating protein (NAP) is a major virulence factor playing a central role in pathogenesis of mucosal inflammation by immune cell attraction and Th1 cytokine response polarization. NAP is protective antigen and promising vaccine candidate against H. pylori infection. Here we present the development of measles virus (MV) vaccine strain encoding the NAP antigen. In order to facilitate the extracellular transport and detection, NAP was inserted in the human lambda immunoglobulin chain replacing a major part of the variable domain. We generated two MV vectors expressing secretory NAP forms: MV-lambda-NAP encoding the full-length constant lambda light chain domain and MV-s-NAP encoding only the N-terminus of the lambda light chain with the leader peptide. Immunization of MV permissive Ifnarko-CD46Ge transgenic mice by a single intraperitoneal injection of the NAP-expressing strains induced a robust, long-term humoral and cellular immune response against MV. Nine months post vaccination measles-neutralizing antibody titers were above the serum level considered protective for humans. Furthermore, all animals immunized with MV strains expressing the secretory NAP antigen developed strong humoral immunity against NAP, reaching titers >1:10,000 within 2–4 weeks. IFN-γ ELISpot assay confirmed that NAP-encoding MV vectors can also stimulate NAP-specific cell-mediated immunity. Our data demonstrate that MV is an excellent vector platform for expression of bacterial antigens and development of vaccines for H. pylori immunoprophylaxis in humans.
Attenuated measles virus; Helicobacter pylori; Neutrophil-activating protein
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.
The role of inflammation in the pathogenesis and progression of atherosclerosis has been increasingly discussed. Although the seroepidemiological studies have suggested a relationship between Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection and atherosclerosis; the issue is still controversial. It is well known that abnormal lipid profil is related to atherosclerosis and the measurement of carotid-intima media thickness (CIMT) is one of the surrogate marker of atherosclerosis. The serum concentration of high-density lipoprotein (HDL-C) has been known to have an inverse correlation with the development of atherosclerosis. Paraoxonase-1 (PON1) is a major anti-atherosclerotic component of HDL-C. PON1 activity is related to lipid peroxidation and prospective cardiovascular risk. The aim of this study was to investigate CIMT and serum PON1 activities along with lipid parameters in H. pylori positive and negative subjects.
Thirty H. pylori positive subjects and thirty-one negative subjects were enrolled. H. pylori infection was diagnosed by the presence of positivity of stool H. pylori antigen test or Carbon 14 labeled urea breath test. Serum PON1 activity was measured spectrophotometrically. Traditional cardiovascular risk factors were investigated and laboratory analysis included measurement of serum triglycerides (TG), total cholesterol (TC), high-density lipoprotein (HDL-C) and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C). We assessed CIMT by high-resolution ultrasound of both common carotid arteries.
We found that the mean and maximum values of right and overall CIMT in H. pylori positive subjects were significantly thicker than those of H. pylori negative subjects. There was no significant differences in serum HDL-C, LDL-C, TC levels and TC/HDL-C ratios between two groups. Serum TG levels of H. pylori positive subjects were significantly higher than those of H. pylori negative subjects (p = 0.014). We found that PON1 activities were significantly lower in H. pylori positive subjects compared with negative subjects. No significantly correlation was observed between PON1 and CIMT values.
There is an increase in CIMT values in patients with H. pylori positive compared to H. pylori negative subjects. PON1 activity decrease significantly in H. pylori positive subjects. However, an association between PON1 and CIMT was not found. These data indicated that H. pylori may have a role in atherosclerotic processes, however, further studies are needed to evaluate the exact mechanisms.
Measles virus (MV), human immunodeficiency virus, Epstein-Barr virus, and other leukotropic viruses can modulate the expression of leukocyte function antigen 1 (LFA-1) on the surface of infected and nearby leukocytes. This ability to induce changes in LFA-1 expression may play an important role in the pathogenesis of these viruses. However, the mechanism(s) involved in virus-mediated regulation of LFA-1 is unknown. Evidence is presented in this report that it is the MV hemagglutinin (H) protein that initiates up-regulation of LFA-1 expression in leukocyte cultures infected with this virus. Indeed, comparison of the abilities of different MV strains to modulate LFA-1 expression, examination of published nucleotide sequences for the H proteins of different vaccine strains, and competitive inhibition assays using oligopeptides homologous or heterologous to a region of the H protein gene encompassing amino acid 116 (from the amino terminus) all suggest that it is this portion of the H protein that is responsible for MV-induced alteration of LFA-1. These comparisons also support the hypothesis that there is a relationship between the abilities of different MV strains to alter LFA-1 expression and their pathogenic potentials.
The purpose of this study was to determine if Neisseria gonorrhoeae; Chlamydia trachomatis; herpes simplex virus; cytomegalovirus; Epstein-Barr virus; human herpesviruses 6, 7, and 8; or adeno-associated virus influenced the production of cervical intraepithelial neoplasia. Two hundred thirty-one cervical smear samples were tested for the presence of the organisms by PCR. In addition, human papillomavirus types in the samples were determined by PCR and classified into cancer risk types of high, moderate, and low. There was no link with cervical intraepithelial neoplasia status and detection of herpes simplex virus, cytomegalovirus, Epstein-Barr virus, human herpesviruses 6 and 8, gonorrhea, or chlamydia. However, high-grade cervical intraepithelial neoplasia was found more frequently with mixed infection by moderate-risk human papillomavirus types and human herpesvirus 7 than with these papillomavirus types alone. The presence of human herpesvirus 7 may increase the oncogenic potential of moderate-risk human papillomavirus types.
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.
Infectious agents have long been implicated in the pathogenesis of systemic lupus erythematosus. Common viruses, such as the Epstein-Barr virus, transfusion transmitted virus, parvovirus and cytomegalovirus, have an increased prevalence in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus. They may contribute to disease pathogenesis through triggering autoimmunity via structural or functional molecular mimicry, encoding proteins that induce cross-reactive immune responses to self antigens or modulate antigen processing, activation, or apoptosis of B and T cells, macrophages or dendritic cells. Alternatively, some infectious agents, such as malaria, Toxoplasma gondii and Helicobacter pylori, may have a protective effect. Vaccinations may play dual roles by protecting against friend and foe alike.
autoimmunity; infections; protective; systemic lupus erythematosus; vaccination
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.
diabetes; infection; pathogen; seropositivity
To date, there has been no convincing evidence for an association between Chlamydia pneumoniae or Helicobacter pylori and ectasia. In this case-control study, we have investigated the association of H. pylori and C. pneumoniae seropositivity with ectasia, severe coronary atherosclerosis, and normal vessels, which were so classified by coronary angiography. We have also evaluated the influence of these infections on inflammatory markers such as high-sensitive C-reactive protein (hsCRP) and interleukin 6 (IL-6).
Of the 796 patients undergoing coronary angiography for suspected ischemic heart disease, 244 patients were recruited. Of these, 91 had normal vessels, 88 had 3 or more obstructed vessels, and 65 had ectatic vessels without atherosclerosis. Eighty-seven atherosclerotic patients (98.9%) were positive for C. pneumoniae IgG, as were 64 ectatic patients (98.5%) and 76 controls (83.5%) (P < 0.001). Forty-two atherosclerotic patients (47.7%) were positive for C. pneumoniae IgM, as were 43 ectatic patients (66.2%) and 43 controls (47.3%) (P = 0.036). Seventy-two atherosclerotic patients (81.8%) were positive for H. pylori IgA, as were 26 ectatic patients (40.0%) and 44 controls (48.4%) (P < 0.001). High-sensitive CRP levels were significantly higher in ectatic patients (5.639 mg/L) than in controls (4.390 mg/L) (P = 0.032), and IL-6 levels were significantly higher in atherosclerotic patients (33.92 U/L) than in controls (14.01 U/L) (P < 0.001). Interleukin-6 levels were higher in H. pylori seropositive patients, and hsCRP levels were higher in C. pneumoniae seropositive patients, when compared with seronegatives.
We suggest that, as in atherosclerosis, C. pneumoniae infection is related to ectasia, with raised CRP levels.
Atherosclerosis; bacterial infections/complications; biological markers; C-reactive protein; chlamydia infections/complications; Chlamydia pneumoniae; Cardiovascular diseases/etiology; dilatation, pathologic/etiology; helicobacter infections/complications; Helicobacter pylori; inflammation; interleukin-6
To investigate if markers of exposure to foodborne and orofecal microbes versus airborne viruses are associated with atopy and respiratory allergies.
Retrospective case-control study.
240 atopic cases and 240 non-atopic controls from a population sample of 1659 participants, all Italian male cadets aged 17-24.
Air force school in Caserta, Italy.
Main outcome measures
Serology for Toxoplasma gondii, Helicobacter pylori, hepatitis A virus, measles, mumps, rubella, chickenpox, cytomegalovirus, and herpes simplex virus type 1; skin sensitisation and IgE antibodies to relevant airborne allergens; total IgE concentration; and diagnosis of allergic asthma or rhinitis.
Compared with controls there was a lower prevalence of T gondii (26% v 18%, P=0.027), hepatitis A virus (30% v 16%, P=0.004), and H pylori (18% v 15%, P=0.325) in atopic participants. Adjusted odds ratios of atopy decreased with a gradient of exposure to H pylori, T gondii, and hepatitis A virus (none, odds ratio 1; one, 0.70; two or three, 0.37; P for trend=0.000045) but not with cumulative exposure to the other viruses. Conversely, total IgE concentration was not independently associated with any infection. Allergic asthma was rare (1/245, 0.4%) and allergic rhinitis infrequent (16/245, 7%) among the participants (245/1659) exposed to at least two orofecal and foodborne infections (H pylori, T gondii, hepatitis A virus).
Respiratory allergy is less frequent in people heavily exposed to orofecal and foodborne microbes. Hygiene and a westernised, semisterile diet may facilitate atopy by influencing the overall pattern of commensals and pathogens that stimulate the gut associated lymphoid tissue thus contributing to the epidemic of allergic asthma and rhinitis in developed countries.
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.
BACKGROUND: Hereditary forms of chronic idiopathic intestinal pseudo-obstruction (CIIP) are well described but the aetiology of most cases of sporadic CIIP is unknown. AIM: To determines whether herpes viruses can persist in the gastrointestinal tract, thereby implicating them in the pathogenesis of CIIP. METHODS: Twenty one specimens of small and large intestine from 13 patients with CIIP (eight visceral myopathy, three visceral neuropathy, two undifferentiated), and 12 patients operated on for colorectal cancer (controls) were examined for evidence of Herpesvirus DNA (cytomegalovirus, Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), herpes simplex virus type 1, and varicella zoster virus) by nested polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and in situ DNA hybridisation (ISH) to localise signal to the muscularis propria or myenteric plexus. RESULTS: Screening with nested PCR produced three patients with positive results. One patient with an inflammatory visceral neuropathy had EBV detected in the small intestine by PCR, and ISH demonstrated localisation to neurones in the myenteric plexus. A patient with a visceral myopathy had EBV DNA in both the small and large intestine; and one patient with a visceral neuropathy had small intestine positive for CMV DNA (both negative by ISH). No control tissue was positive for any virus. CONCLUSIONS: In individual patients there appears to be evidence linking a viral aetiology to sporadic CIIP. The role of neurotropic viruses in acute and chronic motility disturbances needs further study.
Aims: To explore whether Chlamydia pneumoniae, Cytomegalovirus and Herpes Simplex Virus type 1 could be detected in large and small cerebral arteries, as well as in an area of brain parenchyma where white matter lesions (leukoaraiosis) can be found, in patients with clinically unmanifested cerebrovascular atherosclerosis. Methods and results( Arterial specimens from the basilar artery and middle cerebral artery, and brain samples from the basal ganglia and periventricular white matter were obtained. Neuropathological changes were assessed in Haematoxylin-Eosin stained sections. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) was performed on paraffin embedded sections. Subsequently, we performed immunohistochemical staining on samples, which were found positive in PCR. We failed to detect C. pneumoniae, CMV, or HSV-1, in any of the cerebral large vessels. In the brain tissue, we found only one case positive for CMV, and one for C. pneumoniae. Conclusions (our findings suggest a limited role for C. pneumoniae, CMV and HSV-1 in cerebral large and small vessel atherosclerosis.
Chlamydia pneumoniae; Cytomegalovirus; Herpes Simplex Virus type 1; small vessel disease; brain.