Background - Serum C-reactive protein (CRP) level is a heritable complex trait that predicts incident cardiovascular disease. We investigated the clinical and genetic sources of interindividual variability in serum CRP. Methods and Results - We studied serum CRP in 3301 Framingham Heart Study (FHS) participants (mean age 61 years, 53% women). Twelve clinical covariates explained 26% of the variability in CRP level, with body mass index alone explaining 15% (P<0.0001) of the variance. To investigate the influence of genetic variation at the CRP gene on CRP levels, we first constructed a dense linkage disequilibrium map for common single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) spanning the CRP locus (1 SNP every 850 bases, 26 kilobase [kb] genomic region). Thirteen CRP SNPs were genotyped in 1640 unrelated FHS participants with measured CRP levels. After adjustment for clinical covariates, 9 of 13 SNPs were associated with CRP level (P<0.05). To account for correlation among SNPs, we conducted forward stepwise selection among all 13 SNPs; a triallelic SNP (rs3091244) remained associated with CRP level (stepwise P<0.0001). The triallelic SNP (C→T→A; allele frequencies 62%, 31%, and 7%), located in the promoter sequence, explained 1.4% of total serum CRP variation; haplotypes harboring the minor T and A alleles of this SNP were associated with higher CRP level (haplotype P=0.0002 and 0.004). Conclusions - In our community-based sample, clinical variables explained 26% of the interindividual variation in CRP, whereas a common triallelic CRP SNP contributed modestly. Studies of larger samples are warranted to assess the association of genetic variation in CRP and risk of cardiovascular disease.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
- Physiology (medical)