Relationship Among Circulating Inflammatory Proteins, Platelet Gene Expression, and Cardiovascular Risk
Objective—Cardiovascular disease is a complex disorder influenced by interactions of genetic variants with environmental factors. However, there is no information from large community-based studies examining the relationship of circulating cell–specific RNA to inflammatory proteins. In light of the associations among inflammatory biomarkers, obesity, platelet function, and cardiovascular disease, we sought to examine the relationships of C-reactive protein (CRP) and interleukin-6 (IL-6) to the expression of key inflammatory transcripts in platelets.
Approach and Results—We quantified circulating levels of CRP and IL-6 in 1625 participants of the Framingham Heart Study (FHS) Offspring cohort examination 8 (mean age, 66.6±6.6 years; 46% men). We measured the expression of 15 relevant genes by high-throughput quantitative reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction from platelet-derived RNA and used multivariable regression to relate serum concentrations of CRP and IL-6 with gene expression. Levels of CRP and IL-6 were associated with 10 of the 15 platelet-derived inflammatory transcripts, ALOX5, CRP, IFIT1, IL6, PTGER2, S100A9, SELENBP1, TLR2, TLR4, and TNFRSF1B (P<0.001). Associations between platelet mRNA expression with CRP and IL-6 persisted after multivariable adjustment for potentially confounding factors. Six genes positively associated with CRP and IL-6 in the FHS sample were also upregulated in megakaryocytes in response to CRP and IL-6 exposure.
Conclusions—Our data highlight the strong connection between the circulating inflammatory biomarkers CRP and IL-6 and platelet gene expression, adjusting for cardiovascular disease risk factors. Our results also suggest that body weight may directly influence these associations.
- Received January 10, 2013.
- Accepted August 9, 2013.
- © 2013 American Heart Association, Inc.