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10-02-2011 | Cardiometabolic | Article

Inflammatory markers independently linked to CHD risk


Free abstract

MedWire News: Researchers report that abdominal obesity and physical inactivity are strong and independent predictors of coronary heart disease (CHD) risk, and that several markers of inflammation are linearly associated with these risk factors in both men and women.

However, the team also shows that some inflammatory markers are associated with an increased CHD risk, independent of waist circumference and levels of physical activity.

"These findings provide evidence for an important role for low-grade inflammation in predicting CHD risk associated with physical inactivity and abdominal obesity," comment Matthijs Boekholdt (Academic Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands) and colleagues in the European Heart Journal.

They add that this also supports the notion that inflammation might represent a potential therapeutic target, independent of these CHD risk factors.

A total of 1002 participants from the Cancer and Nutrition Norfolk cohort (1993-1997) who developed fatal or nonfatal CHD during the mean 10-year follow-up period were included in the analysis, along with 1859 matched control participants.

Boekholdt and team found that circulating levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), secretory phospholipase A2 (sPLA2), fibrinogen, and adiponectin were all linearly associated with physical inactivity and an increasing waist circumference, whereas plasma levels of myeloperoxidase (MPO) and lipoprotein-associated phospholipase A2 (Lp-PLA2) activity were not.

Both waist circumference and physical inactivity were independent predictors of future CHD, and even after adjustment for several CHD risk factors, every standard deviation (SD) increase in waist circumference or decrease in physical activity increased the risk for future CHD by 27% and 10% in men and 16% and 22% in women, respectively.

After adjusting for waist circumference, physical activity, smoking, diabetes, systolic blood pressure, and low- and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels, and for hormone replacement therapy in women, Boekholdt et al found that every SD increase in levels of CRP, Spla2 and fibrinogen were associated with 13%, 31%, and 15% increased risks for CHD, respectively, in men, and 18%, 37%, and 23% increased risks in women. And, in men only, every SD increase in MPO was associated with a 17% increased CHD risk.

Therefore, the researchers conclude, these inflammatory markers may contribute to increased CHD risk beyond what can be explained by abdominal obesity and physical activity levels, and suggest that inflammation might represent a potential therapeutic target in the future.

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Current Medicine Group, a trading division of Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2011

By Nikki Withers