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Previous studies showed that human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) is associated with atherosclerosis. However, local vascular atherosclerosis related HCMV infection and protein expression remain unclear. This study aimed to assess the relationship between HCMV infection and atherosclerosis. Formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded peripheral artery specimens were obtained from 15 patients with atherosclerosis undergoing vascular surgery from 2008 to 2010 at Zhongnan Hospital, Wuhan University. Pathological analyses were carried out after hematoxylin and eosin (H&E) and Masson trichrome staining. In situ hybridization and immunohistochemistry with two different monoclonal antibodies were employed to detect HCMV nucleic acids and proteins, respectively. H&E and Masson trichrome staining showed homogeneous extracellular matrix in femoral artery, while smooth muscle fibers were interlaced with collagen fibers; in carotid artery, inflammatory cell infiltration, foam cell vascular change, cholesterol crystals, and layered collagen fibers were observed. In situ hybridization showed no expression of HCMV nucleic acids in all 15 cases. Immunohistochemical staining for protein immediate-early protein (IE1 72) was negative in all cases, while phosphoprotein 65 (pp65) expression was detected in 14 cases. A high rate of positive pp65 signals was found in patients with atherosclerosis, suggesting that local HCMV infection may be associated with the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis. Further studies on this relationship are warranted.


Zhe Wang, Jun Cai, Mingming Zhang, Xiaojing Wang, Hongjie Chi, Haijun Feng, Xinchun Yang. Positive Expression of Human Cytomegalovirus Phosphoprotein 65 in Atherosclerosis. BioMed research international. 2016;2016:4067685

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PMID: 27990427

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