Various infectious agents are associated with atherosclerosis. This analysis was performed to investigate relation between seropositivity for anti-Borrelia IgG and carotid atherosclerosis.
The cross-sectional Study of Health in Pomerania was conducted in a general community living in a region with endemic
Lyme disease. A random sample of 2483 individuals aged 45-79 years was available for the present analysis. Carotid atherosclerosis was sonographically assessed as intima-media thickness of the common carotid artery and as prevalent atherosclerotic plaques in the extracranial carotid arteries. IgG antibodies to Borrelia were determined by ELISA.
IgG antibodies to Borrelia were found positive (> 10 IU/mL) in 108 subjects (4.3%). Persons with and without positive anti-Borrelia IgG antibodies differed with respect to carotid intima-media thickness values (0.863 +/- 0.017 mm versus 0.792 +/- 0.004 mm; p < 0.001) and prevalent carotid plaques (odds ratio 2.65, 95% confidence interval 1.53-4.61; p = 0.001), respectively. Seropositivity for anti-Borrelia IgG was also associated with both atherosclerotic endpoints when age, sex and further atherogenic risk factors and confounders were included in multivariable statistical models.
In a region with endemic
Lyme disease, seropositivity for anti-Borrelia IgG antibodies is independently associated with atherosclerosis. Our findings add support to the hypothesis that exposure to infectious pathogens increases the atherosclerosis risk.