Nested polymerase chain reaction (nPCR) demonstrated the presence of Chlamydia pneumoniae-specific DNA in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC). PBMC samples were obtained from 103 consecutive patients (62 male, 41 female) aged 22-85 years (mean, 64) admitted for coronary angiography because of suspected coronary heart disease and from 52 blood donors (43 male, 9 female) aged 40-64 years (mean, 49). Of the 101 evaluable patients, 60 (59%) were identified by nPCR assay as C. pneumoniae DNA carriers; C. pneumoniae-specific microimmunofluorescence (MIF) serology confirmed exposure to the bacterium in 57 (95%) of the 60 nPCR-positive patients. Among the 52 blood donors, the nPCR assay identified 24 (46%) C. pneumoniae DNA carriers, all of whom were positive by C. pneumoniae-specific serology. Thirty-two patients (32%) and 23 blood donors (44%) were MIF antibody-positive but repeatedly nPCR-negative; Bartonella henselae- or Bartonella quintana-specific antibodies were not detected among any of these subjects. In this study, C. pneumoniae DNA was common in PBMC of patients with coronary heart disease and in middle-aged blood donors.