Background: High C-reactive protein (CRP) levels have been reported to be associated with an increased risk of atherosclerotic cardiovascular events. The relationship of CRP levels to the risk of cerebrovascular events in the Japanese population, which has a lower prevalence of coronary artery disease and a lower CRP level than Western populations, has not been fully clarified. The present study examined the predictive value of serum high sensitivity CRP (hs-CRP) levels for future cerebrovascular events and mortality in the general Japanese population.
Methods: The subjects for this community-based, prospective cohort study were recruited from the general population (n=7901, male only, mean age=64.0 years). Serum hs-CRP levels and cardiovascular risk factors were determined at baseline. The mean follow-up period was 2.7 years. After excluding subjects with a cardiovascular history, the relationships between hs-CRP levels and cerebrovascular events and mortality were assessed.
Results: During follow-up, 130 participants had a first stroke (95 ischemic strokes), and 161 participants died. The hs-CRP tertile level was a significant predictor for a first ischemic stroke (3rd tertile, HR=1.77: 95% Cl, 1.04-3.03, compared with the 1st tertile), after adjustment for age and classical cardiovascular risk factors. Similar trends were observed for the prediction of all-cause mortality (3rd tertile, HR=2.26: 95% Cl, 1.49-3.42, compared with the 1st tertile).
Conclusion: CRP levels can be used to predict future ischemic stroke and mortality in Japanese men from the general population, independently from traditional cardiovascular risk factors.