Objectives: To investigate the presence of Chlamydia pneumoniae DNA in the wall of infrarenal abdominal aortic aneurysms, and in the wall of non-aneurysmal infrarenal abdominal aortas.
Design: Case-control study.
Materials and methods: The study group consisted of 40 patients operated transperitoneally for an infrarenal abdominal aortic aneurysm (IAAA) (eight females, 32 males; mean age 69 years, median age 68 years). Specimens from the aneurysm wall were taken peroperatively under sterile conditions. The control group consisted of 40 deceased persons without aortic aneurysms (14 females, 26 males; mean age 71 years, median age 70 years). Specimens from the non-aneurysmal infrarenal aortas (NIAA) were collected within 48 h after death. The specimens from both groups were frozen at -70 degrees C immediately after collection. A nested polymerase chain reaction (PCR) method, using two sets of primers designed to detect a fragment of the major outer membrane protein gene of C. pneumoniae, was used.
Results: The detection of C. pneumoniae-specific DNA was significantly higher in the study group (14/40 = 35%) than in the control group (2/40 = 5%); (p = 0.001). No clinical factor predicting the presence of C. pneumoniae in the aneurysm wall, could be found.
Conclusion: Chlamydia pneumoniae was detected at a significantly higher frequency in the wall of IAAAs than in the wall of NIAAs. Although this finding does not prove that C. pneumoniae causes IAAAs, further studies on the possible role of C. pneumoniae in the pathogenesis of aneurysms should be performed.