, Volume 8, Issue 5, pp 421-428

C-reactive protein and cardiovascular disease: Weighing the evidence

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C-reactive protein (CRP) has been widely promoted as a strong, independent predictor of cardiovascular events and metabolic syndrome, both in general populations and in patients with clinical cardiovascular disease, and as a causal player in atherothrombosis. However, recent evidence shows that the association of CRP with cardiovascular events is weaker than previously thought, that it may be largely attributed to confounding by established causal risk factors, and that CRP is, therefore, probably not a clinically useful risk predictor. The lack of association of non-coding CRP gene polymorphisms (which determine different baseline CRP values) with coronary events or metabolic syndrome does not support a causal role for CRP, and most of the putatively proatherothrombotic in vitro effects claimed for CRP were caused by contaminants in commercial CRP preparations and not by CRP. Future clinical trials of specific CRP inhibitors now in development could directly test the contribution of CRP to pathogenesis of cardiovascular disease.