Background: The metabolic syndrome together with insulin resistance and their consequences are basic factors in pathogenesis of atherosclerosis. Chronic infections with herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1), cytomegalovirus (CMV), and Chlamydia pneumoniae are associated with the development of atherosclerosis and coronary heart disease. The infectious aspects of metabolic syndrome have not been investigated.
Methods: In a cross-sectional, population-based study, we used National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP)-Adult Treatment Panel (ATP)-III criteria in 1791 subjects, aged 25 years and over, selected by cluster random sampling in three Iranian ports in the northern Persian Gulf. Sera were analyzed for IgG antibodies to Chlamydia pneumoniae, HSV-1, Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) and CMV using ELISA.
Results: In multiple logistic regression analysis, of the infectious agents, CMV [OR = 1.81 (1.05-3.10); p = 0.03], H. pylori [OR = 1.50 (1.12-2.00); p = 0.007] and Chlamydia pneumoniae [OR = 1.69 (1.27-2.25); p < 0.0001] showed a significant association with the metabolic syndrome in men and HSV-1 [OR = 1.95 (1.22-3.11); p = 0.005], H. pylori [OR = 1.45 (1.09-1.94); 0.01] and Chlamydia pneumoniae [OR = 1.65 (1.23-2.21); p = 0.001] in women.
Conclusion: The metabolic syndrome, which occurs very frequently in the general population, has a significant association with prior infection with Chlamydia pneumoniae, Helicobacter pylori, cytomegalovirus and herpes simplex virus type 1. Hypothesis about participation of infection in pathogenesis of metabolic syndrome should be investigated.