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Atherosclerosis. 2008 Nov;201(1):192-7. doi: 10.1016/j.atherosclerosis.2008.01.006. Epub 2008 Mar 14.

Bacterial signatures in atherosclerotic lesions represent human commensals and pathogens.

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1
Department of Medical Biochemistry, University of Tampere Medical School, Tampere, Finland.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Various studies have suggested the involvement of infectious agents in chronic inflammatory diseases, including atherosclerosis. By using a novel subtraction broad-range PCR approach, we defined bacterial DNA signatures in surgically removed sterile abdominal aorta samples of patients with aortic atherosclerosis.

METHODS:

Partial bacterial 16S rDNA nucleotide sequences were determined using broad-range PCR from aortic samples of 20 patients, and from appropriate methodological controls. In all, 160 sequences from 16 clone libraries were studied.

RESULTS:

After subtraction analysis 16 clinically relevant bacterial sequence-types were identified among the patient samples, whereas 29 were discarded as potential methodological contaminants. On average 2.2+/-1.2 different bacterial sequence-types were present in the nine true PCR-positive atheroma samples.

CONCLUSIONS:

Many studies have reported the presence of a variety of bacterial sequences from atherosclerotic lesions. However, the results obtained with these PCR technologies may have been skewed by methodological contaminants. After our subtraction approach, 63% of the remaining sequence-types from sites of aortic atherosclerosis were related to those of known human pathogens. This may imply that advanced atherosclerotic plaques accumulate bacterial DNA.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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