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Circulation. 2001 Jun 19;103(24):2915-21.

Cytomegalovirus infection with interleukin-6 response predicts cardiac mortality in patients with coronary artery disease.

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Department of Medicine II, Johannes Gutenberg University, Mainz, Germany.



Prospective data relating previous exposure to cytomegalovirus (CMV) to the risk of cardiac mortality are controversial. We investigated the effect of previous exposure to CMV infection on the risk of future cardiac disease-related death in relation to an underlying inflammatory response.


coronary angiography was performed in 1134 subjects, and 989 patients with documented coronary artery disease were studied prospectively. CMV-IgG titers and interleukin (IL)-6 levels were measured before angiography. Increasing titers of CMV correlated with the elevation of IL-6 levels (P<0.001) after adjustment for possible confounders. All patients were followed up for a median of 3.1 years (maximum 4.3 years). During follow-up, 96 patients died, 70 of cardiac disease. Overall, CMV seropositivity was not related to cardiac mortality after adjustment for confounding variables (P=0.19). In contrast, in patients with elevated IL-6 levels (>/=11.9 pg/mL, median level), CMV seropositivity was independently associated with a 3.2-fold (95% CI 1.4 to 7.3, P=0.007) increase in risk of future cardiac death, whereas in individuals without IL-6 elevation, previous CMV infection had no effect on cardiac mortality.


MV seropositivity in patients with an inflammatory response is independently associated with future cardiac mortality, whereas this association is lost in patients who do not demonstrate an inflammatory response. These data support the hypothesis that the atherosclerotic effects of CMV are mediated through an underlying inflammatory response.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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