Inflammation contributes to the development of hypertension. Whether C-reactive protein (CRP) has a causal role in hypertension remains unknown. We studied the relationship between circulating CRP levels and hypertension. The role of single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the CRP gene as determinants of its plasma levels and the propensity to develop hypertension was investigated. Plasma CRP and genotypes of nine SNPs were determined in 1925 unrelated subjects from the Hong Kong Cardiovascular Risk Factor Prevalence Study-2 (CRISPS-2) in 2000–2004. Among 1378 subjects normotensive in CRISPS-2, 1115 subjects had been followed up in CRISPS-3 after a median interval of 5.3 years, 236 of whom had developed hypertension. Plasma CRP was independently associated with the development of hypertension in CRISPS-3 (odds ratio per quartile=1.26, P=0.010). Six SNPs were associated with plasma CRP (all P<0.001). However, none of the SNPs was significantly associated with blood pressure, prevalent or incident hypertension, or change in blood pressure. In conclusion, plasma CRP predicts the development of hypertension. Genetic variants in the CRP gene are significantly associated with plasma CRP but not with hypertension. The future risk of hypertension is therefore more related to plasma CRP than SNPs in the CRP gene in this population.
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Analysis using the Sequenom genotyping system was performed with the help of Miss Phoebe Ng of the Genome Research Centre, University of Hong Kong. This study was supported by Hong Kong Research Grants Council grants (HKU7229/01M and HKU7626/07M) and the Sun Chieh Yeh Heart Foundation.
The authors declare no conflict of interest.
Supplementary Information accompanies the paper on the Journal of Human Hypertension website
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