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Am J Epidemiol. 2014 Jan 1;179(1):48-56. doi: 10.1093/aje/kwt208. Epub 2013 Sep 24.

Longitudinal association of C-reactive protein and lung function over 13 years: The EPIC-Norfolk study.


Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is known to be associated with systemic inflammation. We examined the longitudinal association of C-reactive protein (CRP) and lung function in a cohort of 18,110 men and women from the European Prospective Investigation Into Cancer in Norfolk who were 40-79 years of age at baseline (recruited in 1993-1997) and followed-up through 2011. We assessed lung function by measuring forced vital capacity (FVC) and forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1) at baseline, 4 years, and 13 years. Serum CRP levels were measured using a high-sensitivity assay at baseline and the 13-year follow up. Cross-sectional and longitudinal associations of loge-CRP and lung function were examined using multivariable linear mixed models. In the cross-sectional analysis, 1-standard-deviation increase in baseline loge-CRP (about 3-fold higher CRP on the original milligrams per liter scale) was associated with a -86.3 mL (95% confidence interval: -93.9, -78.6) reduction in FEV1. In longitudinal analysis, a 1-standard-deviation increase in loge-CRP over 13 years was also associated with a -64.0 mL (95% confidence interval: -72.1, -55.8) decline in FEV1 over the same period. The associations were similar for FVC and persisted among lifetime never-smokers. Baseline CRP levels were not predictive of the rate of change in FEV1 or FVC over time. In the present study, we found longitudinal observational evidence that suggested that increases in systemic inflammation are associated with declines in lung function.


C-reactive protein; aging; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; inflammation; longitudinal study; lung function

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