Evidence suggests putative interactions of leptin and C-reactive protein (CRP) in the pathogenesis of adiposity-related atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (CVD). Therefore, we investigated whether CRP levels modify the relationship of leptin levels with coronary artery calcium (CAC). We examined 1,460 asymptomatic individuals from two community-based cross-sectional studies coordinated at a single, university-based research center. We focused on subjects who were overweight or obese (BMI 25) given greater biologic plausibility in this setting. In multivariable CAC models, we analyzed the interaction of log-transformed plasma leptin levels with higher CRP levels as defined by three cut-points: two clinically based (2mg/l, 3mg/l) and one dataset specific (sex-specific upper quartile). The association of plasma leptin with CAC was modified by higher CRP regardless of cut-point (interaction term P values all 0.01 in fully adjusted models). Leptin levels were associated with CAC in those with high, but not low CRP levels (e.g., tobit ratio for a 1 unit increase in ln(leptin) (95% CI): 2.18 (1.29-3.66) if CRP level ≥3mg/l; N = 461 vs. 0.94 (0.67-1.31) if CRP levels 3mg/l; N = 999) in fully adjusted models. No interaction with CRP was present in control analyses with adiponectin, BMI and waist circumference. In conclusion, in asymptomatic overweight and obese adults, increased leptin levels were independently associated with increased CAC in the presence of high, but not low CRP levels, supporting a leptin-CRP interface in atherosclerosis risk.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Medicine (miscellaneous)
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
- Nutrition and Dietetics