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Vol. 24, No. 5-6, 2006
Issue release date: December 2006

Evidence that C-Reactive Protein or IL-6 Are Not Surrogates for All Inflammatory Cardiovascular Risk Factors in Hemodialysis Patients

Kaysen G.A. · Levin N.W. · Mitch W.E. · Chapman A.L.P. · Kubala L. · Eiserich J.P.
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Background/Aims: In otherwise healthy adults, high C-reactive protein (CRP) levels are associated with cardiovascular disease and have been linked to an inflammatory state. The presence of vascular disease is also associated with increased expression of adhesion molecules, including soluble intercellular adhesion molecule (sICAM), vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and leukocyte-derived myeloperoxidase (MPO). These associations suggest potential mechanisms whereby inflammation may injure the vascular endothelium, but the recognition of how these mediators act in concert remain poorly characterized. That the prevalence of atherosclerosis and markers of inflammation are increased in renal failure patients suggests that inflammation causes accelerated vascular disease. Methods: In hemodialysis patients, we examined the relationships between plasma CRP and sICAM, VEGF and MPO longitudinally. We determined whether episodes of a high CRP value were paralleled by simultaneous increases in mediators of inflammatory injury or molecules associated with endothelial cell adhesion or growth and whether CRP levels correlated with those of VEGF and MPO. Results: Episodic increases in CRP were accompanied by higher levels of VEGF, sICAM and MPO. However, there was no correlation between serum CRP levels or other acute phase proteins and either MPO or VEGF, nor was there a constant temporal relationship between MPO and CRP. By contrast, MPO and VEGF levels were closely correlated with one another during episodes of inflammation (p = 0.0001), and CRP and interleukin-6 levels were also correlated. Increases in MPO tended to be restricted to patients with grafts or catheters, and not those with AV fistulas. Conclusions: These results suggest that high plasma levels of CRP or other acute phase proteins in cross-sectional studies should be interpreted cautiously when defining mechanisms underlying cardiovascular disease in the hemodialysis patient population. One, or more than one inflammatory repertoire may be activated, one involving hepatic acute phase proteins and the other neutrophil activation and each may contribute separately to outcomes. Better prognostic information may be obtained by measurement of more markers than CRP alone, such as MPO and VEGF.

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