Cholesterol uptake in the mouse aorta increases duringChlamydia pneumoniaeinfection

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Chlamydia pneumoniae has been suggested as a stimulator of the atherosclerotic process. Mice fed a normal diet were infected intranasally with C. pneumoniae and given one intraperitoneal injection of 14C-cholesterol tracer per day for 12 days. Bacteria were demonstrated in the aorta in the early phase of infection and in lungs and liver throughout the study period of 20 days. 14C-cholesterol was not affected in the heart but increased in the blood, liver and aorta on day 4 when the infection was clinically most severe. Furthermore, on day 20 14C-cholesterol tended to be increased in the aorta. Accordingly, copper- and zinc levels and expressions of the infection biomarkers Cxcl2 and Ifng increased in the liver on day 4 with a tendency of increased of copper, zinc and Ifng on day 20. In mice where bacteria could be cultivated from the lungs, expressions of cholesterol transporters Abca1 and Idol were both increased in the liver on day 4. The increased levels of 14C-cholesterol in blood and aorta together with increased Abca1 and Idol in the liver during C. pneumoniae infection in mice fed a normal diet suggest that this pathogen may have a role in the initiation of the atherosclerotic process.

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