Associations of plasma pro-inflammatory cytokines, fibrinogen, viscosity and C-reactive protein with cardiovascular risk factors and social deprivation: The fourth Glasgow MONICA study

Paul Welsh, Mark Woodward, Ann Rumley, Gordon Lowe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Circulating inflammatory markers [plasma fibrinogen, viscosity and C-reactive protein (CRP)] have been associated with cardiovascular risk factors. In part, these associations may reflect 'upstream' changes in pro-inflammatory cytokines - interleukin (IL)-6, IL-18 and tumour necrosis factor (TNF)α. These variables were measured in 1666 men and women aged 25-64 years and their associations with risk factors were studied. All six markers increased significantly with age. IL-18 and TNFα levels were higher, and fibrinogen levels lower, in males. Oral contraceptive use increased levels of CRP, whilst postmenopausal women had elevated IL-18 levels. Inflammatory markers were also associated with components of the metabolic syndrome. Most inflammatory markers showed an increasing trend with alcohol consumption in men and a decreasing trend in women, and increasing trends with level of smoking. Inflammatory markers generally showed strong positive associations with social deprivation. After adjustment for classical risk factors, IL-6, IL-18 and TNFα retained significant associations with social deprivation only in men (P <0.008). We conclude that pro-inflammatory cytokines are associated with several cardiovascular risk factors including social deprivation, and may mediate some of their associations with 'downstream' inflammatory markers (fibrinogen, viscosity and CRP).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)852-861
Number of pages10
JournalBritish Journal of Haematology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2008
Externally publishedYes



  • Alcohol
  • Epidemiology
  • Gender
  • Inflammation
  • Social deprivation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology

Cite this