Abstract 1266: Does CRP Play a Causal Role in the Development of Coronary Heart Disease: Results of a Mendelian Randomisation Experiment Involving 128,935 People
Background: C-reactive protein (CRP) is associated with risk of coronary heart disease (CHD). Whether CRP is causally associated with CHD or merely a marker of underlying atherosclerosis is uncertain.
Methods: We used a Mendelian randomisation design to investigate the causal relationship of CRP with CHD. We identified three genetic variants in the CRP locus (rs7553007, rs1130864 and rs1205) which influence CRP levels. We tested the three SNPs for association with CHD amongst 28,112 CHD cases and 100,823 controls. We then compared the observed relationship between the SNPs and CHD, with that predicted from the association of SNPs with CRP levels, and of CRP levels with CHD.
Results: SNPs in the CRP locus were not associated with CHD: rs7553007, OR 0.98 (95% CI, 0.94–1.01); rs1130864, OR 1.00 (95% CI, 0.86–1.15); rs1205, OR 1.03 (95% CI, 0.99–1.07); combined OR for all three SNPs, 1.00 (95% CI, 0.97–1.02), per 20% lower CRP (figure⇓). In contrast, the predicted OR for CHD from a 20% lower CRP level is 0.94 (95% CI, 0.94– 0.95), based on meta-analysis of observational studies.
Conclusions: Though CRP variants are associated with CRP levels, and CRP levels with risk of CHD, we observed that CRP variants are not associated with CHD risk. Our Mendelian randomisation experiment strongly argues against a causal association of CRP with CHD.