Introduction: Several studies have been suggested that infectious agents may induce or progress the process of atherosclerosis in humans. In the present study, the samples of visually healthy human aortic wall were examined for the presence of Chlamydia pneumoniae, Mycoplasma pneumoniae, Helicobacter pylori, herpes simplex virus (HSV), and cytomegalovirus (CMV).
Methods: Bacterial DNA of C. pneumoniae, M. pneumoniae, and H. pylori and viral DNA of HSV and CMV were analyzed by polymerase chain reaction. The specimens were obtained from 40 patients with atherosclerotic three-vessel stable coronary artery disease referred to surgical revascularization (coronary group) and 20 controls referred to aortic valve replacement (valve group).
Results: C. pneumoniae was detected in 11 of 40 samples of aorta in coronary group (27.5%) and 5 of 20 in valve group (25%). M. pneumoniae was found in 6 of 40 (15%) and 5 of 20 (25%) samples, and CMV was found in 22 of 40 (55%) and 10 of 20 (50%) samples. The most frequent detected pathogens were H. pylori and HSV. H. pylori was found in 32 of 40 samples of aortic wall in coronary group (80%) and 17 of 20 samples in valve group (85%), whereas HSV was found in 27 of 40 (67.5%) and 17 of 20 (85%) aortic wall specimens.
Conclusion: Results demonstrate that C. pneumoniae, M. pneumoniae, H. pylori, CMV, and HSV can be detected in macroscopically healthy aortic wall of coronary and valve patients in similar frequency, which do not support hypothesis concerning the role of microorganisms in atherosclerosis etiology.