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Identification of different bacterial DNAs in human coronary arteries


  • This study was supported by the Yrjö Jahnsson Foundation, the Elli and Elvi Oksanen Fund of the Pirkanmaa Fund under the auspices of the Finnish Cultural Foundation, the Medical Research Fund of Tampere University Hospital, and the Finnish Foundation for Cardiovascular Research.

    Departments of Medical Biochemistry (J. Lehtiniemi, S. T. Nikkari) and Forensic Medicine (P. J. Karhunen, S. Goebeler), University of Tampere Medical School, Tampere; Department of Clinical Chemistry (P. J. Karhunen, S. Goebeler, S. T. Nikkari), Tampere University Hospital, Tampere; Institute of Military Medicine, Helsinki (S. Nikkari), Finland.

Seppo T. Nikkari, MD, PhD, Department of Medical Biochemistry, University of Tampere Medical School, FIN-33014, Finland. Tel.: +358 3 2156 692; fax: 358 3 2156 170; e-mail:


Background  Various studies have suggested a link between infection, atherosclerosis and coronary artery disease. We studied whether bacterial DNA is present in coronary specimens obtained from left anterior descending coronary arteries of subjects having sudden deaths of cardiovascular and other causes, as verified by an autopsy.

Materials and methods  Coronary specimens were obtained from five subjects who died of sudden coronary causes and five controls. Broad-range 16-s rDNA PCR (Br-PCR) amplification, cloning and sequencing were used to detect bacterial rDNA.

Results  Bacterial rDNA sequences of oral pathogens were detected from the coronary samples in all cases regardless of the cause of death.

Conclusions  Br-PCR is a powerful method to detect bacterial rDNA. By this method we were able to detect wide palette of oral bacteria from coronary tissues. Our findings suggest that atheromas may act as mechanical sieves collecting bacteria from the circulation.