Plasma concentration of high sensitive C-reactive protein (hsCRP) is used as a marker for inflammatory states and is directly correlated with the risk for coronary heart disease. Evidence concerning the role of inflammation in atheroma formation has been derived from several models of atherosclerosis. Inflammation should exert its adverse vascular effects by structural changes in the artery wall and consequently alterations in arterial elasticity, which could be detected already in asymptomatic early vascular disease. We hypothesized that CRP is related to large artery elasticity, but not to small artery elasticity in early vascular disease. Therefore, we examined the association between arterial stiffness of large and small arteries and inflammation in an asymptomatic population referred for primary prevention cardiovascular screening. Studies were performed in 391 subjects (age 21-82 years; 254 men, 137 women) who underwent screening at the Cardiovascular Disease Prevention Center. Large artery (C1) and small artery (C2) elasticity indices were obtained by the CVProfiler 2000 (HDI, Eagan, MN, USA). After overnight fasting, venous samples were taken for measurement of hsCRP, lipids, glucose. There was a significant inverse correlation between hsCRP (0.292+0.40 mg/dl) and C1 (16.7±5.B ml/mmHg), r=-0.133, P=0.01; there was no significant correlation between hsCRP and C2 (6.6±3.2 ml/mmHg). C2, but not hsCRP, was inversely correlated with age, abnormal lipids and glucose, whereas C1, but not hsCRP, was inversely correlated with age and systolic blood pressure (SBP). In multiple regression analysis, the relationship between hsCRP and C1 was not affected by age, body mass index, SBP, serum glucose or lipids. In conclusion, these findings support the hypothesis that hsCRP, a marker for acute and low-grade inflammation, is associated with large artery but not with small artery elasticity in asymptomatic individuals undergoing primary prevention cardiovascular screening.
- Arterial stiffness
- Blood pressure
- Large and small artery elasticity index
- Risk factors
- hsC-reactive protein