The relationship between cortisol, c-reactive protein and hypertension in the development of cardiovascular dysfunction in African and Caucasian women : the POWIRS study
Motivation: C-reactive protein (hs-CRP) and other risk factors such as cortisol and obesity in the diagnosis of cardiovascular dysfunction (CVD) in African and Caucasian women has become increasingly imperative when one considers the escalation of hypertension among these groups. Recent studies have explored some aspects of these risk factors and the roles that they play within hypertension and possible future risk for cardiovascular disease. Hs-CRP has been associated with the increased prevalence of hypertension and obesity. Cortisol per se has also been linked with the development of both hypertension and the hypothalamic-pituitary adrenal cortex (HPA) response. Nevertheless, the exact mechanism remains rather uncertain due to conflicting outcomes of research within different ethnic groups. Several recent investigations have, however, linked hypocortisolism with both urbanisation and a subsequent increased likelihood of hypertension within African women as they have presented increased vascular blood pressure responses. Conversely, Caucasian women have displayed an increased central cardiac reactivity. The lack of data regarding the relationship between the above-mentioned parameters within both African and Caucasian women serves as the motivation for conducting this study. Objective: To investigate hs-CRP, cortisol and hypertension as contributors to the increased likelihood of cardiovascular dysfunction in both African and Caucasian women within South Africa. hs-CRP use this through whole document please. Methodology: The manuscript presented in Chapter 2 has been compiled using data obtained from the POWIRS (Profiles of Obese Women with Insulin Resistance Syndrome) study. Apparently healthy African (N=102) and Caucasian (N=115) women, matched for age and body mass index, were recruited from the North-West Province of South Africa for participation within this study. Subjects were divided into normotensive (NT) and hypertensive (HT) groups according to the mean resting cardiovascular values that were taken using a Finometer device. High-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP) and cortisol blood serum values were determined by immunochemistry and ELISA analyses. Significant differences within each ethnic group and between each of the groups (NT and HT) were determined by analysis of covariance (ANCOVA), for anthropometric, cardiovascular, hs-CRP and cortisol variables, while adjusting for cardiovascular covariates (age, smoking and alcohol consumption). Partial correlations analyses were used to examine the relationship between hs-CRP, cortisol, anthropometric and cardiovascular parameters adjusting for cardiovascular covariates. Logistic regression analyses was used within each ethnic group to determine the relationship between anthropometric, cardiovascular, hs-CRP and cortisol as independent variables and hypertension as dependent variable. This study was approved by the Ethics Committee of the North-West University and all subjects gave informed consent in writing. For a more detailed description of the subjects, study design and analytical procedures please refer to the Materials and Methods section within Chapter 2 of this dissertation. Results and Conclusion: Both ethnic groups presented higher hs-CRP and lower cortisol levels compared to normal values. Lower waist circumference (WC) and cortisol as well as higher blood pressure (BP) and vascular values were evident in Africans compared to Caucasians. Both HT ethnic groups were older and more visceral obese compared to their NT counterparts. HT Caucasians indicated higher central adrenergic responses whilst HT Africans showed vascular adrenergicresponses. Only NT Africans had lower cortisol values than NT Caucasians but the Africans (NT and HT) responded with higher diastolic blood pressure responses compared to their Caucasian counterparts. Moreover, hs-CRP within African women significantly correlated with all BP and obesity variables whilst hs-CRP only associated with stroke volume (SV) and compliance (Cw) within HT Caucasian women. Cortisol in both ethnic groups was strongly associated with vascular BP responses. Only BP contributed to the higher prevalence of HT in both ethnic groups. In conclusion, these results suggest the possible diverse roles of HPA axis dysregulation associated with higher inflammatory responses. This happens in conjunction with cardiac and vascular responses within more obese Caucasian and especially African women, respectively.
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