OBJECTIVES: The goal of the present study was to determine whether seropositivity to Helicobacter pylori (HP), Chlamydia pneumoniae (CP), and cytomegalovirus (CMV) is associated with systemic inflammation and endothelial dysfunction in healthy male subjects.
BACKGROUND: Chronic infection with certain bacteria and viruses may play an important role in inflammation as the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis.
METHODS: The serum levels of immunoglobulin G antibodies to HP, CP, CMV, high-sensitivity C-reactive protein, soluble intercellular adhesion molecule-1, and soluble vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 were determined in 81 healthy Japanese men (40 ± 10 years of age). High-frequency ultrasonographic imaging of the brachial artery was used to study endothelium-dependent (flow-mediated vasodilation) and endothelium-independent (nitroglycerin-induced) vasodilation.
RESULTS: Prevalences of seropositive antibodies to HP, CP, and CMV were 67.9%, 61.7%, and 56.8%, respectively. Infection with HP, CP, or CMV had no relationship with age, blood pressure, or level of serum glucose, lipid, or soluble vascular cell adhesion molecule-1. The levels of C-reactive protein and soluble intercellular adhesion molecule-1 were significantly higher, and flow-mediated vasodilation was significantly lower in subjects with seropositive antibodies to HP than in subjects with seronegative antibodies to HP. Endothelium-independent vasodilation was similar in both groups.
CONCLUSIONS: Chronic infection with HP may be involved in_the development of the atherosclerosis via endothelial dysfunction and systemic and vascular inflammation.