Numerous studies have demonstrated that increased C-reactive protein (CRP) levels predict coronary heart disease, stroke, peripheral vascular disease, and diabetes, and are associated with features of the metabolic syndrome. Only three previous studies have investigated the heritability of CRP levels, primarily in samples of Caucasian families. The purpose of the present study was to estimate the magnitude of genetic influences on CRP levels, and to examine potential associations between variation in the APOE gene and CRP levels, using a sample of 562 individual Japanese Americans from 68 extended kindreds. In general, correlation coefficients between first-degree relatives for CRP were approximately 0.2, and spouse correlations did not differ from zero, consistent with genetic influences. Heritability estimates were approximately 0.3 (p < 0.01), even with adjustment for factors known to influence CRP levels. A significant relationship was seen between unadjusted CRP levels and APOE genotypes (p = 0.02), with the highest mean CRP level among E2 carriers (1.20 mg/L), and nearly the same mean levels among E3/E3 subjects and E4 carriers (0.72 and 0.74 mg/L, respectively). However, this relationship was diminished with adjustment for covariates (p = 0.07). These results demonstrate the presence of both genetic and environmental effects on CRP levels among Asian Americans, and additional studies are needed to determine if the APOE gene contributes to these genetic influences.
- C-reactive protein
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