It has been suggested that Type 2 diabetes may, in part, be precipitated or accelerated by an acute-phase reaction as part of the innate immune response, in which large amounts of cytokines are released from adipose tissue, creating a low-grade inflammatory milieu. There is also firm evidence that atherosclerosis is an immune-mediated inflammatory disease. Therefore it is reasonable to imply that low-grade inflammation is an important pathogenetic factor in atherosclerosis and cardiovascular events in patients with Type 2 diabetes. Over the last few years, there have been a lot of promising clinical markers proposed to link inflammation and atherosclerosis. Of these markers, hs-CRP (high-sensitivity C-reactive protein) might be a prognostic marker for further cardiovascular events, although this has been refuted recently. In this issue of Clinical Science, Castoldi and co-workers have demonstrated that, in patients with Type 2 diabetes categorized into low (<1.0 mg/l), medium (1.0–3.0 mg/l) and high (>3.0 mg/l) hs-CRP groups, serum levels of hs-CRP correlated with lipopolysaccharide-stimulated release of interleukin-1β and interleukin-6 in whole blood. This finding may indicate that low-grade inflammatory activity might influence cytokine production in these patients.

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