- •A novel approach combining epidemiological and in-vitro analyses is used to study the influence of C-reactive protein on cardiovascular health in elderly women.
- •The serum level of C-reactive protein is associated with blood pressure in elderly women.
- •C-reactive protein in elderly women limits the proliferative capacity of endothelial cells.
- •C-reactive protein in elderly women reduces the angiogenic potential of endothelial cells.
It is hypothesized that chronic systemic inflammation contributes to the age-related decline in cardiovascular function. The aim of the present study was to combine an assessment of the relationship between the serum level of C-reactive protein (CRP) and systolic and diastolic blood pressure in 108 elderly women (65 and 70 years) with an in-vitro exploration of the effects of CRP on the proliferative and angiogenic potential of endothelial cells exposed to serum in elderly women. Based on the median CRP level in our population, LowCRP (CRP < 1.3 mg/L) and HighCRP (>1.3 mg/L) groups were identified. Body mass index, waist circumference, systolic blood pressure (SBP) and diastolic blood pressure (DBP) were significantly higher in the HighCRP group than in the LowCRP group (p < 0.05). The influence of CRP on SBP and DBP remained significant after adjustments for BMI and use of antihypertensive medication (p < 0.05). When adjusting for waist circumference the observed influence of CRP on SPB was attenuated (p = 0.062). We next evaluated the ability to form capillary tubes (angiogenesis assay) and the proliferation rate of endothelial cells exposed to the sera of elderly women. Increased serum CRP levels were associated with an increased doubling time of endothelial cells (R2 = 0.39; p < 0.05) and decreased capillary tube length (R2 = 0.30; p < 0.05), indicating a reduction in the proliferation rate of endothelial cells and angiogenic potential. In conclusion, chronic inflammation influences blood pressure in elderly women and compromises endothelial cell function, thus contributing to the age-related decline in vascular health.
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Published online: April 23, 2016
Accepted: April 18, 2016
Received in revised form: April 9, 2016
Received: November 4, 2015
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