The relationship between blood pressure and C-reactive protein in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA)

J Am Coll Cardiol. 2005 Nov 15;46(10):1869-74. doi: 10.1016/j.jacc.2005.07.050. Epub 2005 Oct 24.


Objectives: The goal of this study was to determine the relationship between resting blood pressure (BP) and C-reactive protein (CRP) in a multi-ethnic cohort of men and women from the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA).

Background: Several investigators have observed elevated levels of CRP in individuals with hypertension. Hypertension prevalence varies considerably across ethnic groups. Important questions remain regarding whether the relationship between hypertension and CRP is similar across ethnic and gender subgroups.

Methods: The MESA participants had CRP levels determined at the baseline clinical examination (N = 6,814). Hypertension, treated as a dichotomous variable (yes/no), was defined as a systolic or diastolic BP > or =140/90 mm Hg or a self-reported history of hypertension and use of antihypertensive medications.

Results: The geometric mean CRP in hypertensive participants was 2.3 +/- 0.07 mg/l compared with 1.6 +/- 0.07 mg/l among normotensive participants (p < 0.0001). The relative difference in CRP levels in hypertensives compared with normotensives was similar regardless of gender (13% in men and 13% in women). Ethnic comparisons showed that Chinese participants had the lowest CRP concentration but the largest difference in CRP by hypertension status (24%). Caucasians and African Americans had 10% to 15% higher CRP levels with hypertension, whereas Hispanics had no significant difference in CRP by hypertension status.

Conclusions: This study confirms the existence of an independent association between hypertension and inflammation in both men and women. Ethnic group differences were evident, with the strongest association observed in Chinese participants and no difference in CRP levels by hypertension status in Hispanics.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Atherosclerosis / blood*
  • Atherosclerosis / ethnology
  • Atherosclerosis / physiopathology*
  • Blood Pressure*
  • C-Reactive Protein / analysis*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged


  • C-Reactive Protein