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Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 2006 Nov;26(11):2541-6. Epub 2006 Sep 14.

A proinflammatory state is detectable in obese children and is accompanied by functional and morphological vascular changes.

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Clinical Institute of Medical and Chemical Laboratory Diagnostics, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria.



Obesity is generally accepted as a risk factor for premature atherosclerosis. Subclinical inflammation as quantified by blood levels of C-reactive protein (CRP) contributes to the development and progression of atherosclerosis. We hypothesized that inflammation in obese children is related to functional and early morphological vascular changes.


Blood levels of high sensitivity (hs) CRP, hsIL-6, the soluble intercellular adhesion molecule1 (ICAM-1), vascular cell adhesion molecule (VCAM)-1, and E-selectin were measured in 145 severely obese (body mass index [BMI], 32.2+/-5.8 kg/m2) and 54 lean (BMI, 18.9+/-3.2 kg/m2) children 12+/-4 years old. Flow-mediated dilation (FMD) of the brachial artery and carotid intima-media thickness (IMT) measured by high-resolution ultrasound as markers of early vascular changes were assessed in 92 (77 obese and 15 lean) and 59 (50 obese and 9 lean) children, respectively. Obese children had significantly higher levels of hsCRP, hsIL-6, and E-selectin than healthy controls (4.1+/-4.8 versus 0.9+/-1.5 mg/L, P<0.001 for hsCRP; 1.99+/-1.30 versus 1.42+/-1.01 pg/mL, P=0.05 for hsIL-6; and 78+/-38 versus 59+/-29 ng/mL, P=0.01 for E-selectin). There were no differences in the levels of ICAM-1 and VCAM-1 between groups. Obese children had lower peak FMD response (7.70+/-6.14 versus 11.06+/-3.07%, P=0.006) and increased IMT (0.37+/-0.04 versus 0.34+/-0.03 mm, P=0.03) compared with controls. Morbidly obese children (n=14, BMI 44.1+/-3.9 kg/m2) had highest levels of hsCRP (8.7+/-0.7 mg/L), hsIL-6 (3.32+/-1.1 pg/mL), and E-selectin (83+/-40 ng/mL).


A proinflammatory state is detectable in obese children, which is accompanied by impaired vascular endothelial function and early structural changes of arteries, even in young subjects at risk. It remains to be determined whether high hsCRP in obese children predicts cardiovascular events.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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