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Anti-cytomegalovirus (CMV) IgG antibody titer in patients with risk factors to atherosclerosis


Studies have demonstrated cytomegalovirus (CMV) DNA particles in restenotic lesions in atherosclerotic coronary arteries. We have shown that high (>1:800) anti-CMV IgG antibody titers in the serum are associated with active coronary disease and with post coronary angioplasty restenosis. In this study we assessed the anti-CMV antibody titer in patients with risk factors for atherosclerosis (but without documented clinical manifestations). One hundred and eighly-seven patients (men and women aged 40–80 years) that were admitted to the Department of Internal Medicine were recruited to this prospective study. All had at least one risk factor for atherosclerosis, and none had documented coronary artery disease. Fasting blood samples were drawn on admission. Risk factors included hypertension, diabetes mellitus, active smoking, hyperlipidemia, and a positive family history. Ninety-three age- and sex-matched individuals without atherosclerosis risk factors served as the control group. One Hundred and twentysix patients had high anti-CMV antibody titers (≥1:800) compared with none in the control group. Although 80 patients (90%) in the control group were seropositive, none had anti-CMV IgG antibody titers higher than 1:400. The statistical difference between the patients and the control group was highly significant (p<0.0001). An immunological response against CMV (expressed as an anti-CMV IgG antibody titer) could be a marker of a long-standing immunological reaction causing an inflammatory response that eventually would cause advanced clinical atherosclerosis. We suggest that anti-CMV antibody titer should be used as an early predictor of atherosclerosis. Our findings support the infectious theory and an association between CMV infection and atherosclerosis at an early stage, maybe even years before clinical events occur.

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Correspondence to A. Blum.

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Blum, A., Peleg, A. & Weinberg, M. Anti-cytomegalovirus (CMV) IgG antibody titer in patients with risk factors to atherosclerosis. Clin Exp Med 3, 157–160 (2003).

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Key words

  • Anti-cytomegalovirus IgG antibodies
  • Atherosclerosis
  • Infections
  • Coronary artery disease