Infection and atherosclerosis: Potential roles of pathogen burden and molecular mimicry
Infection has been implicated as a cause of atherosclerosis since the first half of the 19th century. Over the years, sporadic publications have appeared in the literature reflecting a persistent but relatively low level of research activity in this area. In the last decade, however, publications relating to this topic have increased markedly. And very recently, new epidemiological and mechanistic data relating infection to several different diseases, including atherosclerosis, have appeared, stimulating the emergence of important paradigm shifts in how we think about the causes of chronic disease. The following article reviews some of these newer concepts as they relate to a possible role of infection in atherosclerosis.