Lipoprotein-associated phospholipase A2, high-sensitivity C-reactive protein, and risk for incident ischemic stroke in middle-aged men and women in the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) study

Christie M Ballantyne, Ron C Hoogeveen, Heejung Bang, Josef Coresh, Aaron R Folsom, Lloyd E Chambless, Merle Myerson, Kenneth K Wu, A Richey Sharrett, Eric Boerwinkle
Archives of Internal Medicine 2005 November 28, 165 (21): 2479-84

BACKGROUND: Measurement of inflammatory markers has been reported to identify individuals at increased risk for ischemic stroke. Lipoprotein-associated phospholipase A2 (Lp-PLA2) is a proinflammatory enzyme secreted by macrophages. We assessed Lp-PLA2 and C-reactive protein (CRP) levels along with traditional risk factors to examine their relation to ischemic stroke.

METHODS: A proportional hazards model was used in a prospective case-cohort study of 12,762 apparently healthy middle-aged men and women in the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) study who were observed for about 6 years.

RESULTS: Mean Lp-PLA2 and CRP levels adjusted for sex, race, and age were higher in the 194 stroke cases than the 766 noncases, whereas low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) level was not significantly different. Both Lp-PLA2 and CRP levels were associated with ischemic stroke after adjustment for age, sex, and race: hazard ratios were 2.23 for the highest vs the lowest tertile of Lp-PLA2 and 2.70 for CRP level higher than 3 vs lower than 1 mg/L. In a model that included smoking, systolic hypertension, lipid levels, and diabetes, Lp-PLA2 and CRP levels in the highest category were associated with hazard ratios of 1.91 (95% confidence interval, 1.15-3.18; P = .01) and 1.87 (95% confidence interval, 1.13-3.10; P = .02), respectively. Individuals with high levels of both CRP and Lp-PLA2 were at the highest risk after adjusting for traditional risk factors compared with individuals with low levels of both, whereas others were at intermediate risk.

CONCLUSION: Levels of Lp-PLA2 and CRP may be complementary beyond traditional risk factors in identifying middle-aged individuals at increased risk for ischemic stroke.

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