Ethnic differences in systemic inflammation: an investigation of C-reactive protein levels among Moroccan, Turkish and Dutch groups in the Netherlands

Joanne K Ujcic-Voortman, Caroline A Baan, Arnoud P Verhoeff, Anneke Krol, Jacob C Seidell

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


OBJECTIVE: C-reactive protein (CRP) is a sensitive, non-specific systemic marker for inflammation and tissue damage in the human body and independently associated with incident cardiovascular disease (CVD) and traditional CVD risk factors. The aim of this study is to describe and analyse ethnic differences in CRP levels between Turkish, Moroccan and ethnic Dutch groups.

METHODS: Data were collected in the setting of a general health survey, in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, in 2004. From 1219 adults information on physical and psychological health, lifestyle and demographic background was obtained via health interviews. In a physical examination, measurements of anthropometry and blood pressure were performed. Blood samples were collected and high-sensitive CRP was determined.

RESULTS: Mean CRP levels, excluding acute inflammation, were higher among Turkish migrants (men: 2.1mg/l; women: 2.9mg/l) and Moroccan women (2.9mg/l) compared to the Dutch (men: 1.7mg/l; women: 2.3mg/l). 'High CVD risk' CRP levels (3mg/l≥CRP≥10mg/l) were also more prevalent in these groups. Ethnic differences in mean CRP levels persisted after controlling for sex, age, BMI and smoking. Ethnic differences in 'high CVD risk' CRP levels were attenuated by controlling for traditional CVD risk factors in men, but not in women.

CONCLUSION: Their relatively high CRP levels put Turkish and female Moroccan migrants at higher risk of future cardiovascular events, especially women. Known determinants cannot explain ethnic differences in mean CRP levels. Traditional CVD determinants account for ethnic differences in 'high CVD risk' CRP levels among men, but not women.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)511-6
Number of pages6
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2011



  • Adult
  • Aged
  • C-Reactive Protein
  • Cardiovascular Diseases
  • Ethnic Groups
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Inflammation
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Morocco
  • Netherlands
  • Odds Ratio
  • Prevalence
  • Regression Analysis
  • Turkey
  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

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