Elevated C-reactive protein constitutes an independent predictor of advanced carotid plaques in dyslipidemic subjects

R Blackburn, P Giral, E Bruckert, J M André, S Gonbert, M Bernard, M J Chapman, G Turpin
Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology 2001, 21 (12): 1962-8
Inflammation plays a key role in the physiopathology of atherosclerosis. C-reactive protein (CRP) has been found to predict cardiac events in healthy subjects and in patients with coronary heart disease. However, the relationship between CRP and subclinical atherosclerosis is not well established. We examined the potential relationship between CRP and common carotid artery intima-media thickness and carotid plaques in dyslipidemic subjects. Dyslipidemic patients (n=1051) were recruited for the study. All patients had a complete clinical examination and systematically underwent ultrasonographic evaluation of the extracranial carotid arteries on a duplex system. The serum concentration of CRP was measured by using a sensitive immunoradiometric assay. In a univariate model, a strong positive relationship was found between CRP and the severity of carotid stenosis (P<0.0001). In multivariate analysis, the association between CRP and the degree of carotid atherosclerosis remained significant for advanced plaques (P=0.0007) in male subjects only. Significant correlations were found between CRP and body mass index (P<0.0001) and between CRP and other markers associated with the metabolic syndrome. In this large dyslipidemic population, elevated CRP is an independent predictor of advanced carotid plaques in male subjects. Body mass index and other markers of the metabolic syndrome (HDL cholesterol, triglycerides, diabetes, and high blood pressure) are significant determinants of CRP levels in this population.

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