Age as a Modulator of Inflammatory Cardiovascular Risk Factors
Objective—Levels of acute phase reactants are affected by age. The extent to which cardiovascular risk associated with aging is due to an increase in the inflammatory burden is not known. We assessed the relationship with age of inflammatory markers, representing (1) systemic (C-reactive protein, fibrinogen, and serum amyloid-A) and (2) vascular (lipoprotein-associated phospholipase A2 and pentraxin-3) inflammation.
Methods and Results—We determined lipoprotein-associated phospholipase A2 mass and activity, C-reactive protein, fibrinogen, serum amyloid-A, and pentraxin-3 levels and other cardiovascular disease risk factors in 336 whites and 224 African Americans. Levels of systemic inflammatory markers increased significantly with age in both ethnic groups (P<0.05 for all), whereas trend patterns of vascular inflammatory markers did not change significantly with age for either group. In multivariate regression models adjusting for confounding variables, age remained independently associated with a composite Z score for systemic but not vascular inflammation (β=0.250, P<0.001, and β=0.276, P<0.001, for whites and African Americans, respectively).
Conclusion—We report an increase in the systemic but not vascular inflammatory burden over age. Levels of both categories of inflammatory markers over age were similar across ethnicity after adjustment for confounders. Our results underscore the importance of age in evaluating inflammatory markers to assess cardiovascular risk.
- Received May 9, 2011.
- Accepted June 9, 2011.
- © 2011 American Heart Association, Inc.