Presence of Chlamydia pneumoniae in abdominal aortic aneurysms is not associated with increased activity of matrix metalloproteinases.


OBJECTIVE to test the hypothesis that the presence of Chlamydia pneumoniae (C. pneumoniae) in the wall of abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAA) is associated with increased activity of matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-2 and/or MMP-9. DESIGN case-control study. MATERIAL AND METHODS in a series of 40 patients with AAA > or =5cm in maximal cross-sectional diameter, C. pneumoniae-DNA was identified in the aneurysm wall by nested PCR in 14 (35%) patients. Another 14 C. pneumoniae-DNA-negative AAA patients from the same series, matched for gender and aneurysm diameter, were used as controls. In each group there were 7 asymptomatic (aAAA) and 7 ruptured (rAAA) aneurysms. MMP-2 and -9 activity was estimated in AAA wall biopsies by gelatin zymography. RESULTS patients with a C. pneumoniae-DNA-positive aneurysm wall specimen showed an over-all lower activity of MMP-2 and MMP-9 (pro- and active enzyme) compared to the C. pneumoniae-DNA negative patients. However, there were no statistically significant differences in MMP activity between the two groups of patients with aAAA. Among patients with rAAA both pro-MMP-9 (p=0,026) and active-MMP-9 (p=0.007) were significantly lower in C. pneumoniae-DNA-positive patients compared to C. pneumoniae-DNA-negative patients, whereas there were no significant differences in pro-MMP-2 or active-MMP-2. CONCLUSION this preliminary study does not support the hypothesis that the presence of C. pneumoniae in the AAA wall is associated with increased activity of MMP-2 and MMP-9.


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