Background: A large number of epidemiological and pathological studies have reported on associations between coronary heart disease and persistent infection with Chlamydia pneumoniae or cytomegalovirus, but relatively few have reported on possible relations between these infections and vascular risk factors.
Objective: To determine whether serum concentrations of immunoglobulin G antibodies to C. pneumoniae or cytomegalovirus are correlated to standard vascular risk factors, markers of inflammation and indicators of socioeconomic status.
Methods: We performed a cross-sectional sero-epidemiological study nested within a randomized trial involving five general practices in Bedfordshire, UK. We made measurements of a number of standard vascular risk factors, serum markers of systemic inflammation and other relevant characteristics in 704 individuals.
Results: There were significant associations between C. pneumoniae immunoglobulin G levels and male sex and cigarette smoking (2P < 0.01 for each) and between cytomegalovirus immunoglobulin G levels and age (2P < 0.001). Other factors were not significantly associated with serum antibodies to either persistent infection.
Conclusions: Serological evidence of persistent infection with C. pneumoniae or cytomegalovirus in this population was not strongly associated with most standard vascular risk factors and other characteristics. The main implication is that such risk factors are not likely to be important confounders or mediators of the reported associations between coronary heart disease and these agents.