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Atherosclerosis. 2001 Jun;156(2):451-6.

The association of c-reactive protein, serum amyloid a and fibrinogen with prevalent coronary heart disease--baseline findings of the PAIS project.

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  • 1Department of Epidemiology and Health Promotion, National Public Health Institute, Mannerheimintie 166, FIN-00300, Helsinki, Finland.


Recent data suggest that infections, inflammation and the immune system are involved in the process of atherosclerosis. The aim of the present study was to analyze the association of coronary heart disease (CHD) with three inflammation markers, C-reactive protein (CRP), serum amyloid-A (SAA) and plasma fibrinogen. The cross-sectional study included 1400 men aged 45-74 years, who participated in a cardiovascular risk factor survey in Finland in 1997. Participants with prevalent CHD had markedly higher CRP, SAA and fibrinogen levels than participants without CHD. In logistic regression models, the age, smoking, serum cholesterol and systolic blood pressure adjusted odds ratios (2nd, 3rd and 4th quartile as compared with the 1st quartile) of CHD increased gradually with increasing quartile of CRP (1.90, 2.27, 2.64), SAA (1.68, 1.83, 2.41), and fibrinogen (1.60, 1.95, 2.14). The associations weakened somewhat after further adjustment for indicators of obesity, particularly waist hip-ratio. CRP, SAA and fibrinogen levels were markedly lower among CHD patients using cholesterol-lowering medication as compared to non-users. In conclusion, CRP, SAA and fibrinogen, which are markers of inflammation, were positively and significantly associated with prevalent CHD. Central obesity needs to be considered as a confounding factor in the observed associations. These findings support the hypothesis that cholesterol-lowering drugs have an anti-inflammatory effect.

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