Detection of Chlamydia pneumoniae DNA in CD3+ lymphocytes from healthy blood donors and patients with coronary artery disease

R. Kaul, J. Uphoff, Jean A Wiedeman, S. Yadlapalli, W. M. Wenman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

68 Scopus citations


Background - Chlamydia pneumoniae is an intracellular bacterium responsible for respiratory tract infections. Recent studies have implicated this organism in the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis. Methods and Results - To address how the organism is transported from lungs to cardiac vessels, we characterized the cell population within peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) that harbor C pneumoniae DNA. Adherent and nonadherent PBMCs from 28 patients with coronary artery disease (CAD) and 19 healthy blood donors were evaluated for the presence of C pneumoniae DNA by touchdown nested polymerase chain reaction (nPCR). Of the 28 patients, 10 (36%) had detectable PCR product in their nonadherent and 3 (10%) in their adherent PBMC population. C pneumoniae-specific PCR results were positive for 5 of 19 (26%) healthy blood donors. PCR positivity was detected only in the nonadherent cell population among this group of individuals. Fractionation of nonadherent PBMCs identified C pneumoniae-specific PCR signal among the CD3+ T-cell population exclusively. Of the 18 PCR-positive subjects (13 patients and 5 healthy control subjects), 67% (8 patients and 4 healthy blood donors) tested positive for C pneumoniae-specific IgG serology. Interestingly, 2 patients became PCR negative on a repeated blood draw 5 months after initial detection of C pneumoniae DNA despite retaining C pneumoniae-specific antibodies. Conclusions - Our results demonstrate marginally significant prevalence of C pneumoniae DNA in patients with CAD compared with healthy subjects (P = 0.082). In contrast, the prevalence of IgG seropositivity among the 2 groups did not reach statistical significance (P = 0.306). We also provide unequivocal evidence for the presence of C pneumoniae DNA predominantly among the circulating CD3 + T-cell population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2341-2346
Number of pages6
Issue number19 SUPPL.
StatePublished - Nov 7 2000


  • Atherosclerosis
  • Cells
  • Chlamydia pneumoniae
  • Lymphocytes
  • Polymerase chain reaction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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