Accelerated Article

Biological Trace Element Research

, Volume 91, Issue 2, pp 97-110

First online:

Interactions between Chlamydia pneumoniae and trace elements

A possible link to aortic value sclerosis
  • Christina Nyström-RosanderAffiliated withSection of Infectious Diseases, Uppsala University Hospital
  • , Ulf LindhAffiliated withSection of Biomedical Radiation Sciences, Department of Oncology, Radiology and Clinical Immunology, Uppsala University HospitalCentre for Metal Biology in Uppsala
  • , Nils-Gunnar IlbäckAffiliated withSection of Infectious Diseases, Uppsala University HospitalToxicology Division, National Food Administration
  • , Eva HjelmAffiliated withSection of Clinical Bacteriology, Department of Medical Sciences, Uppsala Univeristy Hospital
  • , Stefan ThelinAffiliated withDepartment of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, Uppsala University Hospital
  • , Olle LindqvistAffiliated withUnit of Forensic Medicine, Department of Surgical Sciences, Uppsala University Hospital
  • , Göran FrimanAffiliated withSection of Infectious Diseases, Uppsala University Hospital

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An association between Chlamydia pneumoniae and atherosclerotic cardiovascular diseases has been suggested. However, other factors may interact in the pathogenesis of valve sclerosis. Therefore, trace elements important for C. pneumoniae growth and host defense and markers of C. pneumoniae infection were studied in sclerotic valves and serum. Forty-six patients undergoing surgical valve replacement due to advanced aortic sclerosis were prospectively studied. Valves from 15 forensic cases with no heart valve disease and plasma from 46 healthy volunteers served as controls. C. pneumoniae was detected in 16/46 (34.8 %) sclerotic valves and in 0/15 forensic controls. IgG and IgA antibodies to C. pneumoniae were present in 54.3% and 26.1 % patients, respectively. In the patients’ valves, iron, magnesium, and zinc each correlated to calcium, a marker of the histopathological severity of disease. Patients showed 10- to 70-fold increases of these trace elements in valves and an increased copper/zinc ratio in serum. In a majority of aortic sclerosis patients, one of several markers of C. pneumoniae infection were detected and all patients had a disturbed trace element balance in valves and serum suggestive of active immune process and infection. The pattern of trace element changes was essentially similar regardless of positive makers of C. pneumoniae, suggesting a similar etiopathogenesis in both subgroups. The 20-fold increase in iron, essential for C. pneumoniae growth, in sclerotic valves suggests a new possible link to this infection in aortic sclerosis.

Index Entries

Aortic valve sclerosis Chlamydia pneumoniae chronic infection trace elements