Inflammation, obesity and cardiovascular function in African and Caucasian women from South Africa: the POWIRS study.J Hum Hypertens. 2006 Nov; 20(11):850-9.JH
The integrated relationship between inflammation, obesity and cardiovascular disease is currently a subject of much research interest. These specific relationships, however, have not been studied in-depth in South African population groups in order to determine the role of ethnicity. It is known that Africans, compared to Caucasians, suffer from a high prevalence of hypertension. It was therefore hypothesized that the levels of inflammatory markers (high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP), fibrinogen and leptin) are higher in Africans compared to Caucasians and are notably associated with cardiovascular dysfunction in Africans. Apparently healthy African (N=102) and Caucasian (N=115) women, matched for age and body mass index (BMI), were recruited. Leptin, hsCRP, fibrinogen and lipid levels, waist circumference (WC), BMI, systolic and diastolic blood pressure, cardiac output (CO), total peripheral resistance (TPR) and Windkessel compliance were measured. Results showed that the levels of leptin, hsCRP and fibrinogen were significantly higher (P<0.05) in the African women. The inflammatory markers correlated strongly with cardiovascular parameters, age and obesity (BMI, WC) in both groups, but after adjusting for age and obesity, none of the correlations were significant anymore. Multiple regression analyses (with leptin, hsCRP or fibrinogen as dependent variable) showed that only leptin levels of African women were explained by cardiovascular parameters (BP, TPR and CO). In conclusion, even though African women had significantly higher leptin, hsCRP, fibrinogen and blood pressure levels than Caucasian women, no cardiovascular parameters explained the variation in the inflammatory markers (except for leptin levels of African women).