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Bioessays. 1995 Oct;17(10):899-903.

Cytomegalovirus and atherosclerosis.

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Division of Molecular Virology, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas 77030-3498, USA.


Finding that an avian herpesvirus can cause atherosclerosis in chickens prompted studies of human herpesviruses in human atherosclerosis. Antigens and nucleic acid sequences of cytomegalovirus (CMV), a widespread member of the herpesvirus family, were found in arterial lesions in human atherosclerosis, but infectious virus has not been observed. In atherosclerosis patients, high levels of CMV antibodies are present, suggesting the presence of virus that had been activated from a latent state. Atherosclerosis also develops in immune-suppressed heart transplant patients infected with CMV. The properties of CMV are consistent with its involvement at several levels of the atherogenic process. If this concept is correct, immunization with a CMV vaccine should prevent CMV infection and atherosclerosis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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