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Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 2004 May;24(5):969-74. Epub 2004 Mar 4.

C-reactive protein is associated with arterial stiffness in apparently healthy individuals.

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  • 1Clinical Pharmacology Unit, University of Cambridge, Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge, UK.



C-reactive protein (CRP) levels predict outcome in healthy individuals and patients with atherosclerosis. Arterial stiffness also independently predicts all-cause and cardiovascular mortality and may be involved in the process of atherosclerosis. The aim of this study was to investigate the relationship between stiffness and inflammation in a cohort of healthy individuals.


Pulse wave velocity (PWV) and blood pressure were assessed in 427 individuals. Subjects with cardiovascular disease, diabetes, hypercholesterolemia and those using medication were excluded. CRP correlated with age, mean arterial pressure (MAP), brachial and aortic PWV, and pulse pressures. In multiple regression models, aortic PWV correlated independently with age, CRP, male gender, and MAP (R2=0.593; P<0.001). CRP was also independently associated with brachial PWV. Aortic augmentation index correlated with age, gender, MAP, and inversely with heart rate and height, but not with CRP (R2=0.794; P<0.001). Aortic, carotid, and brachial pulse pressures were also independently associated with CRP levels.


Aortic and brachial PWV, and pulse pressure, relate to levels of inflammation in healthy individuals, suggesting that inflammation may be involved in arterial stiffening. Anti-inflammatory strategies may, therefore, be of benefit in reducing arterial stiffness and thus cardiovascular risk, especially in patients with premature arterial stiffening.

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