The past, present and future of arterial infection
La Revue du praticien
L Capron, R Loire
Today, the pathology of large and medium-sized arteries is in most part considered as degenerative or inflammatory. The role of infection has been preponderant (syphilis) but has become quite modest now, restricted to infectious aneurysms. According to certain observations, infections may participate in initiating arterial inflammation, whether it be specific (Kawasaki's disease, Takayasu's arteritis, coronary artery disease of cardiac grafts) or less so ("plain" atherosclerosis). Suspected microbes (herpes viruses, Chlamydia pneumoniae, etc.) would damage the arterial wall either directly by infecting it, or indirectly by provoking an autoimmune reaction against some of its components (e.g. heat shock proteins). These hypotheses are worth serious consideration because, if established as correct, they would modify radically our etiologic, therapeutic and prophylactic conceptions of arterial diseases, including of course the main one, atherosclerosis.