Rates of cardiovascular and renal disease in Australian Aboriginal communities are high, but we do not know the contribution of inflammation to these diseases in this setting. In the present study, we sought to examine the distribution of C-reactive protein (CRP) and other markers of inflammation and their relationships with cardiovascular risk markers and renal disease in a remote Australian Aboriginal community. The study included 237 adults (58% of the adult population) in a remote Aboriginal community in the Northern Territory of Australia. Main outcome measures were CRP, fibrinogen and IgG concentrations, blood pressure (BP), presence of diabetes, lipids, albuminuria, seropositivity to three common micro-organisms, as well as carotid intima-media thickness (IMT). Serum concentrations of CRP [7 (5–13) mg/l; median (inter-quartile range)] were markedly increased and were significantly correlated with fibrinogen and IgG concentrations and inversely correlated with serum albumin concentration. Higher CRP concentrations were associated with IgG seropositivity to Helicobacter pylori and Chlamydia pneumoniae and higher IgG titre for cytomegalovirus. Higher CRP concentrations were associated with the following: the 45–54-year age group, female subjects, the presence of skin sores, higher body mass index, waist circumference, BP, glycated haemoglobin and greater albuminuria. CRP concentrations increased with the number of cardiovascular risk factors, carotid IMT and albuminuria independently of other risk factors. These CRP concentrations were markedly higher than described in other community settings and are probably related, in a large part, to chronic and repeated infections. Their association with markers of cardiovascular risk and renal disease are compatible with the high rates of cardiovascular and renal disease in this community, and provide more evidence of strong links between these conditions, through a shared background of infection/inflammation. This suggests that a strong focus on prevention and management of infections will be important in reducing these conditions, in addition to interventions directed at more traditional risk factors.

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