The human vasculitides including Takayasu's arteritis are idiopathic syndromes for which both autoimmune and infectious etiologies have been proposed. Although proof of a correlation between infection and human vasculitis would aid in patient management, it is difficult to confirm causality. To study infection-mediated vascular disease, different animal models have been developed. Infections with the bacteria C. pneumoniae, an RNA virus, and herpesviruses all cause vascular pathology and will be reviewed here. Many aspects of the human diseases are recapitulated in these models, so further animal studies may help elucidate mechanisms of infection-mediated vasculitis. Such results may improve management, and potentially, prevention of these important human diseases. Importantly, the animal models provide an opportunity to define how the immune and inflammatory processes function in the great vessels and the molecular basis for the selectivity of certain viral infections for the great elastic arteries. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science Ireland Ltd.
- Animal model
- Elastic arteritis
- Infection-mediated vasculitis