Background: Leptin could be a key regulator of C-reactive protein (CRP) levels, which serve as a marker of systemic inflammation. Both leptin and CRP are predictors of cardiovascular disease (CVD). However, the interactions between leptin and CRP, and their association with CVD, remain unclear. We therefore studied them in a large, multiethnic population. Methods: We analyzed leptin and CRP levels, anthropometric variables and cardiovascular risk factor data from 6,251 participants from the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III). Logistic regression was used to estimate the association between leptin, CRP and CVD (defined as history of myocardial infarction or stroke). Receiver operating characteristic curves were created to study the additional value of leptin and CRP for the association with CVD. Results: The meanage was 44.4 ± 0.21 years (52.5% women). After adjustment for age, race, dyslipidemia, hypertension, diabetes, smoking, obesity and CRP, high levels of leptin were significantly associated with CVD in men (odds ratio 2.47, 95% CI 1.19-5.19) and in women (odds ratio 3.30, 95% CI 1.47-7.99). After adjustment for leptin, CRP was not associated with CVD. There was a significant correlation between levels of leptin and CRP (Spearman correlation ρ = 0.22 in men and ρ = 0.32 in women, both P < 0.0001). The area under the curve, representing the association between cardiovascular risk factors and CVD, increased after the addition of high levels of both leptin and CRP together. Conclusion: High leptin levels are independently associated with CVD even after adjustment for CRP; elevated CRP levels are not associated with CVD after adjustment for leptin. However, increased concentrations of both leptin and CRP confer the highest risk for CVD.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine