Inflammation plays an important role in atherosclerosis. Markers of low-grade chronic inflammation, such as C-reactive protein (CRP) and soluble cell adhesion molecules (sCAMs), have been associated with coronary artery disease (CAD).
To evaluate the significance of inflammatory markers as novel risk factors for CAD in the Chinese population.
High-sensitivity CRP (hs-CRP); sCAMs, including vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 (sVCAM-1), intercellular cell adhesion molecule-1 (sICAM-1), P-selectin (sP-selectin) and E-selectin (sE-selectin); and white blood cell (WBC) count were measured in 170 angiographically defined CAD patients (70% or greater stenosis affecting at least one vessel) and 177 healthy control subjects in the Chinese population in Singapore.
The levels of hs-CRP, sVCAM-1 and sP-selectin, and the WBC count were higher in CAD patients than in control subjects (P<0.001, P<0.05, P<0.05 and P<0.001, respectively). There were no significant differences in the levels of sICAM-1 and sE-selectin between the two groups. Patients with unstable angina or myocardial infarction had higher levels of hs-CRP, and higher WBC and monocyte counts than those with stable angina or atypical chest pain (all P<0.05). The level of sP-selectin in patients with multivessel disease was higher than in those with single-vessel disease (P<0.05). Overall, the levels of hs-CRP and sCAMs showed a significant correlation with the lipid profile and the WBC count.
The present study suggests that inflammatory markers, including hs-CRP and WBC count, together with sP-selectin and sVCAM-1, could serve as markers of atherogenesis in Chinese patients with CAD, with potential diagnostic and therapeutic implications.