cytomegalovirus causes high blood pressure – true or false?


among others …

The BIG story that’s run amok on the Internet lately:

Mice infected with cytomegalovirus (CMV) were more likely to develop not only high blood pressure

but also the hardening of the arteries called atherosclerosis

, according to a report in the May 15 issue of PLoS Pathogens by researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital in Boston.

CMV infection is widespread, Crumpacker noted. Studies indicate that between 60 percent and 99 percent of adults worldwide are infected, according to the study. But aside from pregnancy, where CMV infection is associated with serious birth defects, it causes no problems for most adults “until they get something that compromises the immune system,” he noted.

“Vascular [blood vessel] injury has been suspected for quite a while,” Crumpacker said. “What we have added, in collaboration with cardiologists, is evidence that in mice, CMV can cause an increase in blood pressure.”

Blood vessel problems related to CMV infection were first noted in heart transplant recipients, Crumpacker said. Those who were CMV-positive were more likely to have blockage of the heart arteries


Most cases of high blood pressure in humans are of unknown origin, Crumpacker said. “Ninety-eight percent of the time, we don’t know what the cause is,” he said. If CMV infection is established as a cause — something that requires much more research — the way would be open for better methods of prevention and treatment, Crumpacker said.

“This is very exciting and important work,” said Dr. Mark R. Schleiss, who holds the American Legion chair of pediatric infectious disease at the University of Minnesota and is a leading figure in the drive to develop a CMV vaccine.

My Response:

If the virus infects 60 to 90 percent of the population and it causes high blood pressure then how come that same amount of people don’t have high blood pressure?

There maybe a link between CMV and hypertension but from everything I’ve read so far its seems the whole story is based on a lot of assumptions and conjecture.

I wouldn’t be too fast to jump on the CMV bandwagon.


P.S. How do you measure a mouse’s blood pressure anyway?


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