Abnormal blood rheology and chronic low grade inflammation: possible risk factors for accelerated atherosclerosis and coronary artery disease in Lewis negative subjects

Atherosclerosis. 2015 Mar;239(1):248-51. doi: 10.1016/j.atherosclerosis.2015.01.015. Epub 2015 Jan 21.


Objective: To test the hypothesis that abnormal hemorheology and chronic low-grade inflammation are more prevalent in Lewis negative individuals, possibly contributing to premature atherosclerosis.

Methods and results: We enrolled 223 healthy subjects (154 females, mean age: 64yrs). Conventional risk factors, markers of inflammation and hemorheological profiles were measured; Lewis blood group was determined by serology. Conventional risk factors (age, gender, BMI, blood pressure, lipid profile, smoking habit) did not differ among Lewis phenotypes. However, markers of inflammation (WBC, hs-CRP, ESR) were significantly elevated and rheological parameters (RBC aggregation, plasma viscosity) were abnormal in Lewis negative subjects, especially when compared to the Le(a-b+) group.

Conclusions: With a prevalence of 33% in select populations, our data support the hypothesis that Le(a-b-) represents a pro-inflammatory phenotype that may contribute to the elevated cardiovascular risk in this group.

Keywords: Atherosclerosis; Blood rheology; Inflammation; Lewis negative phenotype.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Atherosclerosis / physiopathology
  • Biomarkers / metabolism
  • Blood Sedimentation
  • Blood Viscosity
  • Body Mass Index
  • C-Reactive Protein / metabolism
  • Coronary Artery Disease / blood
  • Coronary Artery Disease / diagnosis
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Fibrinogen / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / metabolism
  • Insulin / metabolism
  • Lewis Blood Group Antigens*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Phenotype
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Rheology / methods*
  • Risk Factors


  • Biomarkers
  • Insulin
  • Lewis Blood Group Antigens
  • Fibrinogen
  • C-Reactive Protein