Background. Infection with cytomegalovirus (CMV) is considered a risk factor for progression of atherosclerotic disease. Patients with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) display signs of frequent CMV re-activation, which may be caused by the uraemia-associated defect in cellular immunity. The possible contribution of CMV seropositivity to the hugely increased risk for cardiovascular disease in patients with ESRD is not clear. Methods. In a retrospective study we analysed the clinical data of patients with ESRD that were evaluated for renal transplantation from January 2002 to March 2006. Classical cardiovascular risk factors and CMV seropositivity were related to the prevalence of atherosclerotic disease. Results. A total of 408 patients were evaluated with a median age of 52 years (range 18-81 years). Multivariate logistic regression identified age (odds ratio; OR 2.7 per decade), smoking (OR 2.2), hypertension (OR 1.9), C-reactive protein (CRP) (OR 2.6) and CMV seropositivity (OR 2.7) as independent variables that were significantly associated with a positive medical history of atherosclerotic disease. The average titre for anti-CMV immunoglobulin G was higher in patients with atherosclerotic disease (100 AU/ml vs 71 AU/ml, P < 0.05). CMV seropositivity was independently associated with an elevated CRP. In addition, patients with the combination of a high CRP and CMV seropositivity showed the highest prevalence of atherosclerotic disease. Conclusion. CMV seropositivity is significantly associated with atherosclerotic disease in ESRD patients. Our data suggest that the risk for progressive atherosclerosis is specifically increased in patients with an inflammatory response to CMV.

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Nephrology, Dialysis, Transplantation
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Betjes, M., Litjens, N., & Zietse, B. (2007). Seropositivity for cytomegalovirus in patients with end-stage renal disease is strongly associated with atherosclerotic disease. Nephrology, Dialysis, Transplantation, 22(11), 3298–3303. doi:10.1093/ndt/gfm348