Childhood C-reactive protein in predicting CRP and carotid intima-media thickness in adulthood: the Cardiovascular Risk in Young Finns Study

Markus Juonala, Jorma S A Viikari, Tapani Rönnemaa, Leena Taittonen, Jukka Marniemi, Olli T Raitakari
Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology 2006, 26 (8): 1883-8

BACKGROUND: Atherosclerosis begins in childhood, and inflammation may contribute to its pathophysiology. The value of measuring inflammatory markers in the pediatric risk assessment, however, is uncertain. We examined whether childhood C-reactive protein (CRP) levels predict CRP and carotid intima-media thickness (IMT) in adulthood.

METHODS AND RESULTS: Study cohort included 1617 subjects, aged 3 to 18 years at baseline in 1980. These subjects were reexamined in 2001 at ages 24 to 39 years. In 2001, CRP was measured from fresh samples, and the subjects underwent carotid IMT study to evaluate subclinical atherosclerosis. Baseline (1980) CRP concentrations were measured from frozen samples in 2005. A significant tracking was observed between childhood and adult CRP levels. The age- and sex-specific correlations were the highest in the age group of 18 years at baseline (r=0.47 in females, r=0.32 in males, P<0.0001). The association between childhood and adult CRP levels was independent of serum lipids, blood pressure, smoking, obesity indices, and insulin. In multivariate analysis, childhood risk factors that independently associated with increased adult IMT included elevated systolic blood pressure (P<0.0001), high low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (P=0.01) and smoking (P=0.049), but not CRP (P=0.95).

CONCLUSIONS: Childhood CRP values predict weakly but significantly adult CRP, and this association is independent of other metabolic risk factors. Unlike conventional risk factors, however, childhood CRP does not predict adult IMT.

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