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Low C-reactive protein levels in a traditional West-African population living in a malaria endemic area


, : Low C-reactive protein levels in a traditional West-African population living in a malaria endemic area. Plos One 8(7): E70076-E70076

C-reactive protein (CRP) levels are reported to be elevated in populations of African descent living in affluent environments compared to populations of European ancestry. However, the natural history of CRP levels in populations of African descent living under adverse environments remains largely unknown. CRP levels were measured with a high sensitivity assay in 624 apparently healthy individuals who contributed blood as part of a study on innate immune responsiveness in a traditional Ghanaian population living under adverse environmental conditions in a malaria endemic area. As a comparison, we included CRP measurements from 2931 apparently healthy individuals from the Dutch population that were included in the same batch of CRP analyses. Associations between CRP and body mass index (BMI), immune responsiveness, and P. falciparum parasitaemia were investigated. In an age- and sex-adjusted model, CRP levels were 0.54 mg/L lower in the Ghanaian compared to the Dutch cohort (1.52 vs. 0.98 mg/L, p<0.001). When accounting for the substantially higher average BMI in the Dutch compared to the Ghanaians (25.6 vs. 18.4 kg/m(2)) the difference in CRP levels disappeared. BMI associated positively with CRP in the Dutch but not in the Ghanaians. In individuals with an acute phase response, CRP levels were higher in the Ghanaian compared to the Dutch cohort (24.6 vs. 17.3 mg/L, p = 0.04). Levels of CRP were positively related to immune responsiveness and P. falciparum parasitaemia (all p<0.001) among Ghanaians. Our study demonstrates that West-Africans do not exhibit an inherently high inflammatory state. The role of genes, environment and gene-environment interaction in explaining reports of elevated CRP levels in populations of African ancestry when compared to other ethnicities living in affluent environments thus merits further investigation.

US$19.90

PMID: 23922912

DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0070076


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