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journal article 
Willeit, Peter; Thompson, Simon G; Agewall, Stefan; Bergström, Göran; Bickel, Horst; Catapano, Alberico L; Chien, Kuo-Liong; de Groot, Eric; Empana, Jean-Philippe; Etgen, Thorleif; Franco, Oscar H; Iglseder, Bernhard; Johnsen, Stein H; Kavousi, Maryam; Lind, Lars; Liu, Jing; Mathiesen, Ellisiv B; Norata, Giuseppe D; Olsen, Michael H; Papagianni, Aikaterini; Poppert, Holger; Price, Jackie F; Sacco, Ralph L; Yanez, David N; Zhao, Dong; Schminke, Ulf; Bülbül, Alpaslan; Polak, Joseph F; Sitzer, Matt...    »
Inflammatory markers and extent and progression of early atherosclerosis: Meta-analysis of individual-participant-data from 20 prospective studies of the PROG-IMT collaboration. 
Large-scale epidemiological evidence on the role of inflammation in early atherosclerosis, assessed by carotid ultrasound, is lacking. We aimed to quantify cross-sectional and longitudinal associations of inflammatory markers with common-carotid-artery intima-media thickness (CCA-IMT) in the general population.Information on high-sensitivity C-reactive protein, fibrinogen, leucocyte count and CCA-IMT was available in 20 prospective cohort studies of the PROG-IMT collaboration involving 49,097 participants free of pre-existing cardiovascular disease. Estimates of associations were calculated within each study and then combined using random-effects meta-analyses.Mean baseline CCA-IMT amounted to 0.74 mm (SD = 0.18) and mean CCA-IMT progression over a mean of 3.9 years to 0.011 mm/year (SD = 0.039). Cross-sectional analyses showed positive linear associations between inflammatory markers and baseline CCA-IMT. After adjustment for traditional cardiovascular risk factors, mean differences in baseline CCA-IMT per one-SD higher inflammatory marker were: 0.0082 mm for high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (p< 0.001); 0.0072 mm for fibrinogen (p< 0.001); and 0.0025 mm for leucocyte count (p = 0.033).'Inflammatory load', defined as the number of elevated inflammatory markers (i.e. in upper two quintiles), showed a positive linear association with baseline CCA-IMT (p< 0.001). Longitudinal associations of baseline inflammatory markers and changes therein with CCA-IMT progression were null or at most weak. Participants with the highest'inflammatory load' had a greater CCA-IMT progression (p = 0.015).Inflammation was independently associated with CCA-IMT cross-sectionally. The lack of clear associations with CCA-IMT progression may be explained by imprecision in its assessment within a limited time period. Our findings for'inflammatory load' suggest important combined effects of the three inflammatory markers on early atherosclerosis. 
Eur J Prev Cardiol 
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Klinik und Poliklinik für Psychiatrie und Psychotherapie; Neurologische Klinik und Poliklinik