, Volume 29, Issue 4, pp 196-200

Chlamydia pneumoniae DNA in the Arterial Wall of Patients with Peripheral Vascular Disease

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Background: Chlamydia pneumoniae is a human respiratory pathogen that has recently been related to the genesis of symptomatic atherosclerosis. C. pneumoniae has been studied more widely in relation to coronary atherosclerosis than to peripheral arterial occlusive disease (PAOD). The present study aimed to retrospectively analyze the presence of C. pneumoniae DNA in patients with PAOD.

Materials and Methods: A seminested PCR method was applied on 85 samples from 71 patients with PAOD secondary to surgical treatment. The control group comprised 50 patients with chronic superficial venous insufficiency who required varicose resection surgery.

Results: The number of patients, number of samples studied and percentage of patients found to be positive in the PCR study were 17, 18 and 59%, respectively, for arteries of the lower extremities: 15, 16 and 60% for aneurysm of the abdominal aorta; 22, 23 and 73% for carotid stenosis and 17, 18 and 65% for aortic stenosis. C. pneumoniae DNA was found in six external pudendal arteries (12%) of the control group, significantly lower than the incidence in the patient group (p < 0.0001).

Conclusion: A causal relationship between chronic C. pneumoniae infection and PAOD cannot be ruled out. On the contrary, the high incidence of C. pneumoniae DNA detected in our patients suggest that C. pneumoniae infection may play some role in the pathogenesis of peripheral vascular disease.

Received: December 3, 2000 · Revision accepted: May 16, 2001