High-Sensitivity C-Reactive Protein Modifies the Cardiovascular Risk of Lipoprotein(a): Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis

Wei Zhang, Jaime Lynn Speiser, Fan Ye, Michael Y. Tsai, Miguel Cainzos-Achirica, Khurram Nasir, David M. Herrington, Michael D. Shapiro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

69 Scopus citations


Background: Little is known about the relationship between lipoprotein (a) [Lp(a)] and high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP) and their joint association with atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD). Objectives: The purpose of this study was to assess whether Lp(a)-associated ASCVD risk is modified by hsCRP in the context of primary prevention. Methods: The current study included 4,679 participants from the MESA (Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis) Apolipoprotein ancillary data set. Cox proportional hazards models and Kaplan-Meier curves were used to assess the association among Lp(a), hsCRP, and time to cardiovascular disease (CVD) events. Results: During a mean follow-up of 13.6 years, 684 CVD events occurred. A significant interaction was observed between Lp(a) and hsCRP (P = 0.04). With hsCRP <2 mg/L, no significant CVD risk was observed at any level of Lp(a) from <50 mg/dL to >100 mg/dL. However, with hsCRP ≥2 mg/L, a significant CVD risk was observed with Lp(a) of 50-99.9 mg/dL (HR: 1.36; 95% CI: 1.02-1.81) and Lp(a) ≥100 mg/dL (HR: 2.09; 95% CI: 1.40-3.13). Isolated elevations of either Lp(a) or hsCRP were not associated with increased CVD risk. In contrast, the combination of elevated Lp(a) (≥50 mg/dL) and hsCRP (≥2 mg/L) was independently associated with significant CVD risk (HR: 1.62; 95% CI: 1.25-2.10) and all-cause mortality (HR: 1.39; 95% CI: 1.12-1.72). Conclusions: Lp(a)-associated ASCVD risk is observed only with concomitant elevation of hsCRP. Individuals with concomitant presence of elevated Lp(a) and systemic inflammation have greater ASCVD risk and all-cause mortality, and thus may merit closer surveillance and more aggressive ASCVD risk management.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1083-1094
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of the American College of Cardiology
Issue number11
StatePublished - Sep 14 2021


  • Multi-Ethic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA)
  • cardiovascular risk
  • high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP)
  • inflammation
  • lipoprotein(a)
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Mortality
  • Male
  • Lipoprotein(a)/blood
  • United States/epidemiology
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Aged
  • C-Reactive Protein/metabolism
  • Heart Disease Risk Factors
  • Atherosclerosis/blood
  • Cohort Studies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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