Chlamydia pneumoniae Detection in Atherosclerotic Plaques in Italy

Italian investigations have shown an association between Chlamydia pneumoniae infection and atherosclerosis. With the use of several diagnostic techniques, including serology, a microimmunofluorescence test, and nucleic acid amplification methods, a temporal association was found between acute C. pneumoniae reinfection and acute myocardial infarction, suggesting that an acute infection superimposed on a chronic or latent infection may trigger the onset of acute myocardial infarction. C. pneumoniae but not Helicobacter pylori or Mycoplasma pneumoniae was found in atherosclerotic plaques of abdominal aortic aneurysms and the carotid artery. A reverse transcriptase–polymerase chain reaction process confirmed the presence of viable C. pneumoniae in carotid atheromas. Nucleic amplification of peripheral blood mononuclear cells may enable the identification of subjects carrying C. pneumoniae in the vascular wall. Macrolide treatment reduced fibrinogen and C-reactive protein plasma levels and C. pneumoniae burden in patients with atherosclerotic diseases.