Education, Smoking and CRP Genetics in Relation to C-Reactive Protein Concentrations in Black South Africans
International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Because elevated circulating C-reactive protein (CRP) and low socio-economic status (SES), have both been implicated in cardiovascular disease development, we investigated whether SES factors associate with and interact with CRP polymorphisms in relation to the phenotype. Included in the study were 1569 black South Africans for whom CRP concentrations, 12 CRP single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), cardiovascular health markers, and SES factors were known. None of the investigated SES aspects
... gated SES aspects was found to associate with CRP concentrations when measured individually; however, in adjusted analyses, attaining twelve or more years of formal education resulted in a hypothetically predicted 18.9% lower CRP concentration. We also present the first evidence that active smokers with a C-allele at rs3093068 are at an increased risk of presenting with elevated CRP concentrations. Apart from education level, most SES factors on their own are not associated with the elevated CRP phenotype observed in black South Africans. However, these factors may collectively with other environmental, genetic, and behavioral aspects such as smoking, contribute to the elevated inflammation levels observed in this population. The gene-smoking status interaction in relation to inflammation observed here is of interest and if replicated could be used in at-risk individuals to serve as an additional motivation to quit.