Background Apolipoprotein (apo E) polymorphism is known to exert pleiotropic effects on several physiologic processes besides lipoprotein metabolism. Although apo E genotype is known to modulate C-reactive protein (CRP) levels, its influence on the association of obesity and insulin resistance with CRP is not known.
Methods This aspect was examined in a biracial (black-white) community-based sample of 929 young adults (mean age 32.8 years, 72% whites, 44% males) who had data on apo E genotype and plasma CRP levels along with other cardiovascular risk factor variables.
Results The frequencies of the e2, e3, and e4 alleles differed significantly between whites and blacks (0.079, 0.770, and 0.151 for whites; 0.187, 0.656, and 0.227 for blacks). Age-, race-, and gender-adjusted mean value of CRP differed among apo E genotype groups [apo E4 (E4/4 and E4/3) < apo E2 (E2/2 and E3/2) or apo E3 (E3/3), p = .03-.001]. In multivariate analysis, significant interaction effects of genotype with race, body mass index (BMI), and insulin resistance index (HOMA-IR) on CRP levels were noted. Significant race difference (black > white, p = .02-.03) in CRP levels were observed only in apo E2 and apo E4. Further, within each genotype group, both BMI and HOMA-IR showed significant positive associations with CRP levels. However, the magnitude of these associations was least in the E4 group compared with the E2 or E3 group.
Conclusion The associations of CRP with obesity and insulin resistance were attenuated in the E4 genotype compared with the E2 or E3 genotype.
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