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Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Infectious Diseases
Volume 2010, Article ID 273573, 18 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2010/273573
Review Article

Chlamydophila pneumoniae Infection and Its Role in Neurological Disorders

1Section of Infectious Diseases, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, National Institute of Neuroscience and Neuroscience Center, University of Ferrara, Via Fossato di Mortara, 23, 44100 Ferrara, Italy
2Section of Neurology, Department of Medical and Surgical Sciences of the Communication and Behaviour, Multiple Sclerosis Center, National Institute of Neuroscience and Neuroscience Center, University of Ferrara, Arcispedale S. Anna, Corso della Giovecca 203, 44100 Ferrara, Italy
3Neuroradiology Unit, Department of Neurosciences and Rehabilitation, Azienda Ospedaliera-Universitaria, National Institute of Neuroscience and Neuroscience Center, University of Ferrara, Arcispedale S. Anna, Corso della Giovecca 203, 44100 Ferrara, Italy

Received 27 July 2009; Accepted 25 November 2009

Academic Editor: Guey Chuen Perng

Copyright © 2010 Carlo Contini et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Chlamydophila pneumoniae is an intracellular pathogen responsible for a number of different acute and chronic infections. The recent deepening of knowledge on the biology and the use of increasingly more sensitive and specific molecular techniques has allowed demonstration of C. pneumoniae in a large number of persons suffering from different diseases including cardiovascular (atherosclerosis and stroke) and central nervous system (CNS) disorders. Despite this, many important issues remain unanswered with regard to the role that C. pneumoniae may play in initiating atheroma or in the progression of the disease. A growing body of evidence concerns the involvement of this pathogen in chronic neurological disorders and particularly in Alzheimer's disease (AD) and Multiple Sclerosis (MS). Monocytes may traffic C. pneumoniae across the blood-brain-barrier, shed the organism in the CNS and induce neuroinflammation. The demonstration of C. pneumoniae by histopathological, molecular and culture techniques in the late-onset AD dementia has suggested a relationship between CNS infection with C. pneumoniae and the AD neuropathogenesis. In particular subsets of MS patients, C. pneumoniae could induce a chronic persistent brain infection acting as a cofactor in the development of the disease. The role of Chlamydia in the pathogenesis of mental or neurobehavioral disorders including schizophrenia and autism is uncertain and fragmentary and will require further confirmation.