Background and Purpose - Atherosclerotic middle cerebral arteries are frequent sites of thrombosis, leading to stroke. Previous studies have suggested a role for Chlamydia pneumoniae in the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis. However, the presence of this pathogen in atherosclerotic middle cerebral arteries has heretofore not been documented. In the present study, we analyzed atheromatous plaques from middle cerebral arteries for the presence of C pneumoniae. Methods - Atherosclerotic middle cerebral arteries from 15 cadavers who died of natural causes and corresponding nonatherosclerotic arteries from 4 otherwise healthy trauma victims were examined. Assays for C pneumoniae DNA were carried out by nested polymerase chain reaction (nPCR) specific for the C pneumoniae ompA gene. The presence of the bacterium was assessed by transmission electron microscopy. Results - Five of the 15 atherosclerotic arterial samples and none of the control tissues were positive for C pneumoniae by nPCR. Particles similar in morphology and size to C pneumoniae elementary bodies were detected by transmission electron microscopy in 4 of the 5 nPCR-positive atherosclerotic samples. Conclusions - The demonstration of C pneumoniae in atherosclerotic middle cerebral arteries is consistent with the hypothesis that this bacterium is involved in acute and chronic cerebrovascular diseases.
- C pneumoniae
- Cerebrovascular disorders
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
- Advanced and Specialised Nursing