Inflammation and vascular endothelial activation in an Aboriginal population: relationships to coronary disease risk factors and nutritional markers

Med J Aust. 2003 May 19;178(10):495-500. doi: 10.5694/j.1326-5377.2003.tb05324.x.


Objective: To describe the levels of inflammation and vascular endothelial activation in an Aboriginal community, and the relationship of these factors to coronary heart disease (CHD) risk factors and markers of nutritional quality.

Design and participants: A cross-sectional survey of 95 women and 76 men participating in a chronic-disease prevention program.

Setting: A remote Aboriginal community in Western Australia in 1996.

Main outcome measures: Concentrations of markers of inflammation (C-reactive protein [CRP]) and vascular endothelial activation (soluble E-selectin [sE-selectin]); presence of metabolic syndrome; concentrations of diet-derived antioxidants.

Results: Participants exhibited very high plasma concentrations of CRP (mean, 5.4 mg/L; 95% CI, 4.6-6.3 mg/L) and sE-selectin (mean, 119 ng/mL; 95% CI, 111-128 ng/mL). Both CRP and sE-selectin concentrations were significantly higher in the presence of the metabolic syndrome. There were significant inverse linear relationships between concentrations of CRP and plasma concentrations of the antioxidants lycopene, beta-carotene, cryptoxanthin and retinol. Even stronger inverse associations were evident between concentrations of sE-selectin and lycopene, beta-carotene, cryptoxanthin and lutein.

Conclusions: Vascular inflammation and endothelial activation may be important mediators of elevated CHD risk in Aboriginal people. Inadequate nutrition and physical inactivity may contribute to this process.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • C-Reactive Protein / metabolism*
  • Coronary Disease / blood*
  • Coronary Disease / ethnology*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • E-Selectin / blood*
  • Endothelium, Vascular / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / blood
  • Male
  • Nutritional Status*
  • Oceanic Ancestry Group*
  • Risk Factors
  • Western Australia / epidemiology


  • Biomarkers
  • E-Selectin
  • C-Reactive Protein