Chlamydia pneumoniae eradication from carotid plaques, results of an open, randomised treatment study

G. Melissano, F. Blasi, G. Esposito, P. Tarsia, L. Dordoni, C. Arosio, Y. Tshomba, L. Fagetti, L. Allegra, R. Chiesa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To determine the effect of specific antibiotic treatment with roxithromycin in the eradication of Chlamydia pneumoniae from carotid artery plaques. Design: prospective open randomised treatment study. Patients and methods: We analyse 32 patients (16 females, mean age 70.1 ± 14.7 years) who underwent surgery for the removal of atherosclerotic plaques from carotid arteries. During surgery samples of lingual vein and superior thyroid artery were also taken. Before surgery, patients were randomised to receive either roxithromycin 150 mg twice daily or no treatment. Sixteen patients were treated with antibiotic for a mean of 26 days (range 17-35 days). The two groups of patients were comparable in terms of age, sex, risk factors, and seroprevalence for C. pneumoniae. We applied a semi-nested polymerase chain reaction (PCR) technique to the carotid plaques, lingual vein, and thyroid artery samples. Blood samples were obtained form the patients for the determination of C. pneumoniae IgG, IgA, and IgM antibody titres by a microimmunofluorescence technique. Results: In twelve out of sixteen non-treated patients we found evidence of C. pneumoniae DNA in the carotid plaques. Conversely, C. pneumoniae DNA was detected in only five out of sixteen treated patients (p = 0.034, Chi-squared test). In all cases PCR was negative for the lingual vein and thyroid artery samples. Conclusions: Roxithromycin seems effective in reducing the bacterial burden of C. pneumoniae within atherosclerotic plaques, although extended follow-up is needed to determine whether antibiotic treatment benefits long-term patient outcome.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)355-359
Number of pages5
JournalEuropean Journal of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1999


  • Antibiotic treatment
  • Atherosclerosis
  • Chlamydia pneumoniae

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Surgery


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