BACKGROUND: Low-grade chronic inflammation is a characteristic feature of obesity, the most important lifestyle risk factor for hypertension. Elevated plasma concentrations of the inflammatory biomarker C-reactive protein (CRP) are associated with an increased risk of hypertension, but elevated plasma CRP concentrations are also closely associated with obesity. It is uncertain whether CRP is directly involved in the pathogenesis of hypertension or is only a marker of other pathogenic processes closely related to obesity. METHODS: We studied 103 obese men (body mass index (BMI) ≥ 30.0 kg/m(2)); 63 of these men had 24-hour ambulatory blood pressure (ABP) ≥ 130/80 mm Hg and comprised the obese hypertensive (OHT) group. The 40 remaining obese men had 24-hour ABP < 130/80 mm Hg and comprised the obese normotensive (ONT) group. Our control group comprised 27 lean normotensive (LNT) men. All participants were medication-free. We measured plasma CRP concentrations with a high-sensitivity assay and determined body composition by dual energy x-ray absorptiometry scanning. RESULTS: There were no differences in anthropometric measures (BMI, waist circumference, or total fat mass percentage) between OHT and ONT groups (P ≥ 0.08). The obese groups had higher CRP concentrations than the LNT group (OHT: median = 2.30, interquartile range (IQR) = 1.10-4.10mg/L; ONT: median = 2.55, IQR = 1.25-4.80 mg/L; LNT: median = 0.60, IQR = 0.30-1.00 mg/L; P < 0.001), but there was no difference in CRP concentrations between OHT and ONT groups (P = 1.00). In the obese men, CRP was not correlated with either 24-hour systolic (r = 0.04; P = 0.71) or 24-hour diastolic ABP (r = -0.03; P = 0.78). CONCLUSIONS: Obese hypertensive men, matched for anthropometric measurements, have plasma CRP concentrations similar to those of obese normotensive men.
American Journal of Hypertension, 2014, Vol 27, Issue 10, p. 1301-1307