Chlamydia pneumoniae infections in mouse models: relevance for atherosclerosis research

Cardiovasc Res. 2005 Feb 1;65(2):317-27. doi: 10.1016/j.cardiores.2004.09.031.


Mouse models have been frequently used in the study of Chlamydia pneumoniae (also known as Chlamydophila pneumoniae) infections. This gram-negative obligate intracellular bacterium causes respiratory infections, followed by dissemination of the bacterium to various organs throughout the body, including cardiovascular tissues, supporting the current hypothesis of a relationship between C. pneumoniae and atherosclerosis. Recently, clinical trials evaluated the effect of antichlamydial antibiotics on secondary cardiovascular events. Although small studies showed some effect, the large WIZARD study did not confirm these results, and the role of antichlamydial antibiotics in prevention of secondary events was questioned. To address these issues, data obtained from mouse models were systematically reviewed here. C. pneumoniae infections showed atherogenic properties in mice that were reproducible and confirmed by different research groups. However, antibiotic therapy was of limited value in these mouse models. Antibiotic therapy effectively cleared the acute infection, but did not influence the atherogenic properties of C. pneumoniae unless the therapy was started early during the acute infection. The results summarized here may help to better understand the results of the clinical antibiotic trials.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Animals
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use
  • Arteriosclerosis / immunology
  • Arteriosclerosis / microbiology*
  • Arteriosclerosis / prevention & control
  • Chlamydophila Infections / drug therapy*
  • Chlamydophila Infections / immunology
  • Chlamydophila pneumoniae*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred Strains
  • Models, Animal
  • Pneumonia, Bacterial / drug therapy
  • Pneumonia, Bacterial / immunology
  • Pneumonia, Bacterial / microbiology*
  • Treatment Failure


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents