Current evidence supports a central role of inflammation in the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis and diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is an inflammatory atherothrombotic condition associated with a high prevalence of cardiovascular disease. In patients with type 2 diabetes, low grade inflammation is reflected by increased plasma levels of several biomarkers of inflammation such as C-reactive protein (CRP). Small increases in CRP predict the likelihood of developing cardiovascular events both in diabetic and nondiabetic populations. In addition, in apparently healthy subjects, increased levels of CRP predict the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. There is some evidence that CRP, besides its predictive role in determining cardiovascular risk, may represent an active participant in atherogenesis. CRP is expressed in human atherosclerotic plaques and both vascular cells and monocytes/macrophages appear to represent a significant source of CRP in the inflammatory vessel wall. By activating the main cell types present in the atherosclerotic lesions, CRP generated within the coronary plaques may contribute to the development and progression of atherosclerosis. Data on vascular CRP regulation are scarce. Current evidence suggests that inflammatory and metabolic factors associated with diabetes, such as high glucose, adipokines, modified lipoproteins and free fatty acids may trigger CRP production by endothelial cells, smooth muscle cells and monocytes/macrophages. These data suggest that local CRP concentration in diabetic atherosclerotic plaques could be higher than in nondiabetic ones. Given the possible correlation between local CRP production and the degree of severity of coronary artery disease or the nature of the lesion, such alteration may contribute to the accelerated development of vascular disease in patients with type 2 diabetes.
Keywords: C-reactive protein, Atherosclerosis, Statins, Type 2 diabetes, Vascular cells, Monocytes/Macrophages
Rights & PermissionsPrintExport