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Atherosclerosis. 2001 Aug;157(2):457-62.

Further evidence against the implication of active cytomegalovirus infection in vascular atherosclerotic diseases.

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Clinical Science Department, University La Sapienza, Rome, Italy.


The possible contribution of cytomegalovirus (CMV) to pathogenetic events associated with atherosclerotic lesion establishment and progression is still controversial. We evaluated the possibility that active ongoing CMV infection could be correlated to evolution of unstable atheromatous lesion, by analyzing patients suffering from unstable angina (n=61), acute myocardial infarction (n=43), stable angina (n=26) and peripheral arteriopathy (n=22) as compared to healthy subjects (n=30). Particularly, we assessed: past exposure to CMV by evaluating anti-CMV IgG antibodies; ongoing CMV infection by evaluating anti-CMV IgM antibodies and circulating interleukin (IL)-8 in serum; and CMV DNAemia in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC). Mean IgG values were significantly increased in patients from all groups, as compared to healthy subjects. CMV-specific IgM, as well as CMV DNAemia, were undetectable in both controls and patients. Circulating IL-8, significantly elevated in a group of individuals experiencing active CMV infection, was not significantly higher in cardiovascular disease patients, as compared to control subjects. These findings confirm previous evidence from the increased exposure to CMV infection in patients with atheromatous lesions. However, they provide further evidence against a direct implication of active systemic CMV infection in the pathogenesis of cardiovascular diseases, particularly those involving plaque instability.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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