Early Atherosclerosis and Chlamydia Pneumoniae Infection in the Coronary Arteries


2nd Department of Pathology, Semmelweis University, Faculty of Medicine, Budapest, Hungary


In non-atheromatous segments of coronary arteries a sequence of preatherosclerotic changes was identified which consisted of medial thickening followed by intimal thickening. More recently, Chlamydia pneumoniae seropositivity was associated with enhanced intima-media thickness of arteries. In the present study the intimal and medial thickness of coronary artery of young adults were measured, and were correlated with the presence of Chlamydia pneumoniae antigens. Proximal and distal segments of the left anterior descending coronaries (LAD) obtained at autopsy from young adults (15-34 years) were studied. The thickness and cellular density of the intima and of the media without clear-cut atherosclerotic changes were measured by image analysis. The hypertrophy index was calculated as the ratio of cell density and the thickness of the respective layer. Atherosclerotic lesions occurring elsewhere in the same coronary were noted and graded by severity. The presence of Chlamydia pneumoniae verified by immunohistochemistry was correlated with the severity of lesions and with the hypertrophy index. In the proximal segments, atherosclerosis of LAD was associated with the widening of both the intima and the media of lesion free-sites. In the distal coronary segments the proportion of the intimal thickening had a significant association with atherosclerosis. Compared to non-infected arteries, Chlamydia pneumoniae infection was associated with higher hypertrophy index in the intima as well as in the media. The rate of Chlamydia pneumoniae positivity increased with the severity of lesions. As a conclusion: in the LAD coronary, the intimal thickening is the main preatherosclerotic change. Chlamydia pneumoniae may favour arterial wall hypertrophy and plays a role in lesion progression. Pathology & Oncology Research, Vol 9, Nr 1, 42-46, 2003

Key words: chlamydia pneumoniae; early; atherosclerosis; hypertrophy

Received: Dec 21, 2002; accepted: Feb 10, 2003
Correspondence: Anna KÁDÁR, 2nd Department of Pathology, Semmelweis University, Faculty of Medicine, Üllõi út 93. Budapest 1091, Hungary; Tel: (36-1)-215-7300/3400, Fax: (36-1)-215-6921; E-mail:

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