Background/objective: High-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP) has been shown to be indicative of elevated risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). We examined this blood marker in persons with spinal cord injury (SCI) in order to determine its potential for predicting elevated cardiac risk.
Methods: In a cross-sectional analysis, we examined the relationship between hsCRP and insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome among 93 individuals with SCI (50.2 +/- 13 years). Fasting lipids, insulin, glucose, plasma hsCRP, and anthropometric data were gathered from each subject. Comparisons were made with population reference values.
Results: Metabolic syndrome and insulin resistance were present in nearly one quarter of the SCI population (22.6%). Subjects with fasting insulin resistance had significantly higher mean hsCRP (4.29 +/- 3.25 mg/L) than those who were not insulin resistant (2.24 +/- 2.02) (P < 0.05). Moreover, hsCRP was significantly elevated in individuals who presented with high cardiovascular risk including severe dyslipidemia (> or = 4 abnormal lipid values) and Framingham Risk scores < or = 6 (P < 0.05 for both values). In addition, the homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance was mildly correlated with hsCRP (r = 0.33).
Conclusions: In individuals with SCI who are insulin resistant and/or display components of the metabolic syndrome, hsCRP is elevated suggesting a clinically important association with cardiovascular risk in this population.