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Clin Biochem. 2000 Nov;33(8):601-10.

High-sensitivity C-reactive protein and atherosclerosis: from theory to therapy.

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Department of Cardiology, New England Medical Center and Tufts University Medical School, Boston, MA, USA.


Atherosclerosis remains the leading cause of morbidity and mortality in Western countries. Recent evidence has demonstrated that atherosclerosis is not simply a disease of lipid deposition. Inflammation plays a major role in the initiation, progression, and destabilization of atheromas. High-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP) is a circulating acute-phase reactant that reflects active systemic inflammation. Large prospective trials have shown hs-CRP to be a strong predictor of future cardiovascular events. Increased hs-CRP concentration is in fact associated with higher cardiovascular events in individuals with and without clinical evidence of atherosclerotic disease. The relative risk associated with hs-CRP is independent of other cardiovascular disease risk factors. Assays for hs-CRP measurement are currently available but must be standardized because patients' results will be interpreted by using population-based cutpoints. A risk-stratifying algorithm incorporating hs-CRP and total cholesterol to high-density lipoprotein cholesterol ratio has been proposed. Further research into the mechanisms and pharmacological treatment of vascular disease will provide novel management strategies in the very near future.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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