Association Between Mobility Mode and C-Reactive Protein Levels in Men With Chronic Spinal Cord Injury

Leslie R. Morse, Kelly Stolzmann, Hiep P. Nguyen, Nitin B. Jain, Cara Zayac, David R. Gagnon, Carlos G. Tun, Eric Garshick

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Morse LR, Stolzmann K, Nguyen HP, Jain NB, Zayac C, Gagnon D, Tun CG, Garshick E. Association between mobility mode and C-reactive protein levels in men with chronic spinal cord injury. Objective: To assess clinical determinants of systemic inflammation in persons with chronic spinal cord injury (SCI). Design: Cross-sectional survey. Setting: Veterans Affairs medical center. Participants: As part of an epidemiologic study assessing SCI-related health conditions, 63 men with chronic SCI provided a blood sample and information regarding locomotive mode and personal habits. Interventions: Not applicable. Main Outcome Measure: Plasma high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (CRP). Results: The mean ± standard deviation age was 56±14y, and participants were assessed 21±13y after injury. Adjusting for heart disease, hypertension, and body mass index (BMI), the mean CRP in 12 motorized wheelchair users (5.11mg/L) was not significantly greater than 23 participants who used a manual wheelchair (2.19mg/L) (P=.085) but was significantly greater than the 17 who walked with an assistive device (1.41mg/L) (P=.005) and the 12 who walked independently (1.63mg/L) (P=.027). CRP was significantly greater in participants with obesity but was not related to age, smoking, or SCI level and severity. CRP was elevated in participants reporting a urinary tract infection (UTI) or pressure ulcer within a year, but adjustment for this did not account for the elevated CRP in motorized wheelchair users. Conclusions: These results suggest that CRP in chronic SCI is independently related to locomotive mode, BMI, and a history of pressure ulcers and UTI. It is suggested that future studies in SCI investigate whether modifying these factors influence systemic inflammation and cardiovascular health.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)726-731
Number of pages6
JournalArchives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2008
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Supported by the Research and Development Service, Department of Veterans Affairs, VA Boston Healthcare System Boston; National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, National Institutes of Health (grant no. RO1 HD42141), Massachusetts Veterans Epidemiology Research and Information Center, VA Cooperative Studies Program, and the Foundation for PM&R.


  • Cardiovascular diseases
  • Inflammation
  • Rehabilitation
  • Spinal cord injuries


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