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Atherosclerosis. 2001 Sep;158(1):13-7.

Chlamydia pneumoniae infection accelerates hyperlipidemia induced atherosclerotic lesion development in C57BL/6J mice.

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Department of Pathobiology, University of Washington, Box 357238, Seattle, WA 98195, USA.


Considerable evidence of an association between Chlamydia pneumoniae infections and cardiovascular disease has emerged. Animal models using genetically altered mice and hypercholesterolemic rabbits have shown a pathogenic role of C. pneumoniae in accelerating atherosclerotic plaque development. In the present study, we evaluated the effect of chronic C. pneumoniae infection on atherosclerosis in C57BL/6J mice, fed either a regular chow diet or a high fat, high cholesterol diet. Infected animals on an atherogenic diet developed significantly larger lesion areas compared with control mice at 18 weeks (2.5-fold increase; 4177+/-777 vs. 1650+/-808 microm(2); P<0.05) and 24 weeks of age (3.3-fold increase; 14139+/-4147 vs. 4298+/-869 microm(2); P<0.02). This study shows that chronic C. pneumoniae infection accelerates atherosclerotic lesion development in diet induced hypercholesterolemic mice, indicating that C. pneumoniae is a co-risk factor of hyperlipidemia in atherogenesis.

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