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Vol 13, No 3 (2007)
Research paper
Published online: 2007-07-04

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The role of virus infection in abdominal aortic aneurysm aetiology

Grzegorz Oszkinis, Marek Winckiewicz, Fryderyk Pukacki, Zbigniew Krasiński, Marcin Gabriel, Przemysław Nowak, Jacek Brzeziński, Robert Juszkat, Magdalena Snoch, Wacław Majewski
Acta Angiologica 2007;13(3):104-113.


Background. Contemporary studies on aneurysm formation in the course of inflammatory changes led to trials on the role of virus infection in its pathology. Some data in literature indicate infections of the aneurysm wall with such viruses as cytomegalovirus (CMV) and herpes simplex virus type 1, 2 (HSV 1/2). These microorganisms, causing subclinical, chronic or recurrent infections, may have a long-lasting, damaging influence on the aortic wall. The study objective was to solve the following problems: 1. Can the presence of viruses be a factor that causes abdominal aortic aneurysm formation? 2. Does the division of aneurysms into two groups (non-specific and inflammatory) have a clinical nature, or does it result from their different aetiology?
Material and methods. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests on DNA presence of CMV, HSV 1/2 and human papilloma virus type 6, 11 (HPV 6/11) were carried out on 34 patients with recognized abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAA), 30 patients with artery atherosclerosis (AA) and at 20 volunteers from a control group.
Results. DNA of CMV was detected in none of the tested groups of aortas; HSV 1/2 was detected in one control issue. DNA presence of HPV 6/11 was detected in 100% of tissues taken from aneurysmatic walls, as well as in 14 samples (46.7%) received from atherosclerotic aortas and in 17 tissues (85%) from control aortas.
Conclusions. The results suggest that the presence of HPV 6/11 is not a causative factor of AAA. However, the presence of these viruses, even in latent form, may lead to aortic wall weakness and increased susceptibility to secondary infection of C. pneumoniae bacteria, the presence of which was confirmed in previously demonstrated test results.

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