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Cardiovasc Pathol. 2010 Nov-Dec;19(6):e205-10. doi: 10.1016/j.carpath.2009.09.009. Epub 2009 Nov 14.

Impact of intimal pathogen burden in acute coronary syndromes--correlation with inflammation, thrombosis, and autoimmunity.

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Department of Internal Medicine II/Cardiology, University of Bonn, Bonn, Germany.



Increasing evidence supports a link between serological evidence of pathogen burden (PB) and the risk for future cardiovascular events. Our study evaluates the intimal presence of 4 pathogens in atheroma, clinically associated with acute coronary syndromes (ACS) and stable angina (SA), and the effect on the expression of intimal C-reactive protein (CRP), tissue factor (TF) and human heat-shock protein 60 (hHSP60).


Coronary atherectomy specimens retrieved from 60 primary lesions of patients with ACS (n=35) or SA (n=25) were assessed immunohistochemically for the presence of Chlamydia pneumoniae (Cpn), Helicobacter pylori (HP), Cytomegalovirus (CMV) and Epstein–Barr Virus (EBV) and for the expression of CRP, TF, and hHSP60.


Analysis revealed eight lesions without, 22 lesions with one, 19 lesions with two, seven lesions with three, and four lesions with four pathogens. Cpn was present in 73%, HP in 31%, CMV in 16%, and EBV in 40%. Mean value of PB in ACS-lesions was significantly increased. Expressions of CRP, TF, and hHSP60 were significantly higher in ACS lesions. The number of infectious pathogens correlated significant with the expressions of CRP, TF, and hHSP60.


Our data demonstrate the impact of PB in plaque instability and suggest local proinflammatory, prothrombotic, and proimmunogenic effects.

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