Association of C-reactive protein with blood pressure and hypertension: lifecourse confounding and Mendelian randomisation tests of causality

George Davey Smith, D A Lawlor, R Harbord, N Timpson, A Rumley, G D O Lowe, I N M Day, S Ebrahim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

166 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background-- C-reactive protein (CRP) has repeatedly been associated with blood pressure and prevalent and incident hypertension, but whether a causal link exists is uncertain. Methods and Results-- We assessed the cross-sectional relations of CRP to systolic blood pressure, pulse pressure, and prevalent hypertension in a representative sample of >3500 British women aged 60 to 79 years. For both outcomes, substantial associations were observed. However, these associations were greatly attenuated by adjustment for a wide range of confounding factors acting over the life course. We further investigated causality using a Mendelian randomization approach by examining the association of the 1059G/C polymorphism in the human CRP gene with CRP and with blood pressure, pulse pressure, and hypertension. The polymorphism was associated with a robust difference in CRP, and the expectation would be for higher blood pressure and pulse pressure and greater prevalence of hypertension among those carrying the genetic variant associated with higher CRP levels. This was not observed, and the predicted causal effects of CRP on blood pressure, pulse pressure, and hypertension using instrumental variables methods were close to 0, although with wide CIs. Conclusions-- CRP levels are associated with blood pressure, pulse pressure, and hypertension, but adjustment for life course confounding and a Mendelian randomization approach suggest the elevated CRP levels do not lead to elevated blood pressure.
Translated title of the contributionAssociation of C-reactive protein with blood pressure and hypertension: lifecourse confounding and Mendelian randomisation tests of causality
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1051 - 1056
Number of pages6
JournalArteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology
Volume25
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2005

Bibliographical note

Publisher: American Heart Association

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