Chlamydia pneumoniae in Aortic Valve Sclerosis and Thoracic Aortic Disease : Aspects of Pathogenesis and Therapy

Sammanfattning: The obligate intracellular bacterium Chlamydia pneumoniae (Cp), a common human pathogen, has been associated with atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease. The aetiology of non-rheumatic aortic valve sclerosis has, however, not been clarified. In two prospective studies of 42 and 46 patients undergoing surgical valve replacement because of aortic valve stenosis, the presence of Cp DNA could be demonstrated by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) in 49% and 35% of the sclerotic valves as compared to 9 % and 0%, respectively, of valves from forensic control cases with no heart valve disease. Some inflammatory and infectious diseases are associated with trace element changes. Eleven of 15 trace elements showed changed concentrations in sclerotic valve tissue compared to control valves in support of an active process in the sclerotic valves. Notable was an increased iron concentration in the patients´ valves suggesting a possible link to Cp. Furthermore, a disturbed trace element balance existed in the patients´ sera, the pattern of which was compatible with ongoing infection. In a prospective study of 38 patients operated on for thoracic aortic aneurysm or dissection, Cp DNA was detected byPCR in 12 % of the aneurysms and the result was confirmed byelectron microscopy(EM). In none of the dissection patients could Cp be demonstratedin the removed tissues. The minimal inhibitory concentration (MIC) and minimal bactericidal concentration (MBC) values for doxycycline and azithromycin increased with longer Cp preincubation times when tested in vitro. EMwas performed to visualise the inactivation at a cellular level.Thus, the results demonstrate Cp in the tissues in non-rheumatic aortic valve sclerosis and in thoracic aortic aneurysm but not in aortic dissection.