Comparative study on antibodies to human and bacterial 60 kDa heat shock proteins in a large cohort of patients with coronary heart disease and healthy subjects

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Background: Recent observations indicate an association between antibodies against mycobacterial heat shock protein (hsp65) and coronary heart disease (CHD). Previously, we reported on marked differences in antigen specificity and complement activating ability of anti-hsp65 antibodies and auto-antibodies against human heat shock protein, hsp60. Here, we investigated whether there are differences between antih-sp65 and anti-hsp60 antibodies in their association with CHD. Design: We measured by ELISA the levels of antibodies to hsp65, hsp60 and E. coli-derived GroEL in three groups: Group I, 357 patients with severe CHD who underwent by-pass surgery; Group II, 67 patients with negative coronary angiography; Group III, 321 healthy blood donors. Antibodies against Helicobacter pylori were also measured by commercial ELISA. Results: As calculated by multiple regression analysis, the levels of anti-hsp60 autoantibodies were significantly higher in Group I compared to Group II (P = 0.007) or Group III (P < 0.0001). By contrast, although concentrations of anti-hsp65 and anti-GroEL antibodies in Group I were higher than in Group III, no significant differences between Group I and Group II were found. Antibodies to the two bacterial hsp strongly correlated to each other, but either did not correlate or weakly correlated to hsp60. In Group I, serum concentrations of anti-H. pylori antibodies significantly correlated with those of anti-hsp65 and anti-GroEL antibodies but they did not correlate with the anti-hsp60 antibodies. Conclusion: As to their clinical relevance, a remarkable difference become evident between antibodies to human hsp60 and antibodies against bacterial hsp in the extent of association with CHD. On the basis of these findings and some pertinent literature data, an alternative explanation for the association between high level of anti-hsp antibodies and atherosclerotic vascular diseases is raised.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)285-292
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean Journal of Clinical Investigation
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - May 1 2001



  • Antibodies
  • Coronary heart disease
  • Heat-shock protein 60
  • Mycobacterium bovis hsp65

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Clinical Biochemistry

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