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J Nutr Biochem. 2002 Jun;13(6):316-321.

C-reactive protein and coronary artery disease: influence of obesity, caloric restriction and weight loss.

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CSIRO Health Sciences and Nutrition, Adelaide, SA 5000, Australia


C reactive protein (CRP) values in blood are a good indicator of the likelihood of acute coronary and cerebral events in both healthy subjects and patients with coronary artery disease. This indicates that atherosclerotic lesions rich in inflammatory cells and cytokines are more likely to produce acute events either through vasospasm and/or thrombosis and also can be readily detected through elevations in CRP when measured using a high sensitivity assay (hsCRP). However the arterial wall is only one potential source of cytokines which induce CRP production. Fat cells also produce cytokines, in particular IL-6 which induces the synthesis of CRP by the liver. Obesity, especially abdominal obesity, is associated with elevations of hsCRP. This may be of pathogenic significance as CRP stimulates the uptake of LDL by macrophages, induces complement activation which may cause cellular damage in the artery, and enhances monocyte production of tissue factor, thus enhancing the risk of thrombosis. Caloric restriction and weight loss lowers IL-6 and CRP levels and may beneficially suppress an immune response. Whether particular dietary macronutrients or micronutrients alter IL-6 or CRP is unknown but this issue is clearly becoming more important.

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