influenzae and C. pneumoniae
(76-78), other gram-negative bacilli, such as M.
More recently, some investigators connected C. pneumoniae with atherosclerosis (SN: 6/14/97, p.
Hudson of Wayne State University School of Medicine in Detroit wondered if C. pneumoniae sparks the brain's aberrant immune response in Alzheimer's disease.
Lines of evidence associating C. pneumoniae with atherosclerosis include seroepidemiologic studies, direct detection of bacterial components in atherosclerotic lesions, occasional isolation of viable organisms from coronary and carotid atheromatous tissue, and in vitro and animal experiments (reviewed in 8,9,13,14).
The strongest evidence associating C. pneumoniae with atherosclerotic CVD has been detection of bacterial components in atherosclerotic lesions.
While conducting a large, long-term study of a new cholesterol-lowering drug, Saikku's team discovered that men showing evidence of a chronic C. pneumoniae infection -- signaled by antibodies and bacterial remnants called lipopolysaccharides in their blood -- were nearly two times more likely to have a heart attack than men who lacked such evidence.
To explain how the bacteria might promote coronary artery disease, Saikku theorizes that white blood cells called macrophages inadvertently carry the lipopolysaccharides into the bloodstream after fighting C. pneumoniae in the lung.
C. pneumoniae cultures were performed only on a subset of 30 patients [is greater than] 2 years old.
C. pneumoniae was not cultured from any of the 30 specimens tested.
C. pneumoniae, an acute respiratory tract pathogen of cosmopolitan distribution, may be linked with chronic diseases such as coronary atherosclerosis and multiple sclerosis (1,4,5).
Initial reports of infections due to C. pneumoniae suggested that the organism's host range was limited to humans.
However, an independent pathogenic role for C. pneumoniae
in heart disease is unlikely if its presence is only a marker for another risk factor.