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Arch Ophthalmol. 2003 Apr;121(4):478-82.

Serological association between Chlamydia pneumoniae infection and age-related macular degeneration.

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Department of Ophthalmology, Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, Ophthalmic Education Center, Boston 02114, USA.



Age-related macular degeneration (ARMD) is a leading cause of blindness in the United States, but the mechanisms that initiate and promote the disease remain ill defined. There are several risk factors that ARMD shares with atherosclerosis, and these diseases may have similar pathogenic mechanisms that involve inflammation. Chlamydia pneumoniae, a prokaryotic pathogen that causes chronic inflammation is now emerging as a risk factor in the development of cardiovascular diseases. It is therefore plausible that this microorganism also contributes to the pathogenesis of ARMD.


To examine if C pneumoniae infection is associated with ARMD, serum samples from 25 consecutive patients with ARMD and from 18 without the disease were collected and assayed for the presence of the antibodies to C pneumoniae elementary bodies, Chlamydia trachomatis heat shock protein 60 (cHsp60), C trachomatis heat shock protein 10 (cHsp10), Escherichia coli GroEL, and E coli GroES.


A serological association was found between ARMD and anti-C pneumoniae antibodies (P =.047) but not between ARMD and the anti-C trachomatis or anti-E coli heat shock protein antibodies. The association remained statistically significant after adjusting for age and smoking, both established risk factors for ARMD.


These data indicate that C pneumoniae infection may be associated with ARMD. Further studies on larger cohorts of individuals are necessary to determine if this pathogen plays a role in the pathogenesis of ARMD.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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