Increased occurrence of Treponema spp. and double-species infections in patients with Alzheimer’s disease rights and content


  • Detection of five bacterial and five viral pathogens in serum and cerebrospinal fluid.
  • An increased frequency of Alzheimer’s disease patients positive for Treponema spp.
  • A significantly higher prevalence of cases with two and more simultaneous infections.
  • The studied pathogens were widespread equally in serum and cerebrospinal fluid.
  • Paralleled analysis of multiple sample specimens provides complementary information.


Although the link between microbial infections and Alzheimer’s disease (AD) has been demonstrated in multiple studies, the involvement of pathogens in the development of AD remains unclear. Here, we investigated the frequency of the 10 most commonly cited viral (HSV-1, EBV, HHV-6, HHV-7, and CMV) and bacterial (Chlamydia pneumoniaeHelicobacter pyloriBorrelia burgdorferiPorphyromonas gingivalis, and Treponema spp.) pathogens in serum, cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and brain tissues of AD patients. We have used an in-house multiplex PCR kit for simultaneous detection of five bacterial and five viral pathogens in serum and CSF samples from 50 AD patients and 53 healthy controls (CTRL). We observed a significantly higher frequency rate of AD patients who tested positive for Treponema spp. compared to controls (AD: 62.2 %; CTRL: 30.3 %; p-value = 0.007). Furthermore, we confirmed a significantly higher occurrence of cases with two or more simultaneous infections in AD patients compared to controls (AD: 24 %; CTRL 7.5 %; p-value = 0.029). The studied pathogens were detected with comparable frequency in serum and CSF. In contrast, Borrelia burgdorferi, human herpesvirus 7, and human cytomegalovirus were not detected in any of the studied samples. This study provides further evidence of the association between microbial infections and AD and shows that paralleled analysis of multiple sample specimens provides complementary information and is advisable for future studies.

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