Detection of Mycoplasma pneumoniae and Chlamydia pneumoniae in ruptured atherosclerotic plaques

This paper reports what is apparently the first observation of Mycoplasma pneumoniae in association with Chlamydia pneumoniae in thrombosed ruptured atheromas. We performed electron microscopy and in situ hybridization in specimens from three patients who died of acute myocardial infarction. These patients had typical symptoms of acute ischemic syndrome. Mycoplasmas were present mainly in the lipid core of the ruptured thrombosed plaque. Vulnerable atheromas are rich in cholesterol and may favor the growth of mycoplasmas, the only microorganisms that require cholesterol for survival. We suggest that the association of Mycoplasma pneumoniae and Chlamydia pneumoniae may increase the virulence of these microorganisms, favoring proliferation, plaque inflammation and possibly plaque rupture.