Inflammatory markers and growth in South Asian and European origin infants in Britain: the Manchester Children's Growth and Vascular Health Study.
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OBJECTIVE: Given the high risk of cardiovascular disease in South Asians and the importance of inflammation in coronary heart disease we tested the hypothesis that circulating C-reactive protein (CRP) and interleukin 6 (IL-6) would be higher in healthy British born infants of South Asian origin than in infants of European origin in the first 2 years of life. STUDY DESIGN AND SETTING: Infants of South Asian (n=74) and European (n=129) origin were followed prospectively from birth. Anthropometry and fasting CRP and IL-6 concentrations were measured at one or more of 3, 6, 12 and 24 months of age. RESULTS: South Asian infants had a significantly lower circulating CRP compared with European infants (beta=0.63, 95% CI 0.41-0.98 mg/l, P=0.040). There was no significant change in CRP from birth to 2 years in either ethnic group so that neither infant weight nor weight gain were associated with CRP during follow-up. IL-6 concentrations were low or undetectable during follow-up in all participants. CONCLUSION: In our cohort, South Asian origin infants had significantly lower markers of inflammation compared with European infants. Infant growth to age 2 years was not associated with CRP or IL-6. Inflammatory markers are not useful indices of CVD risk at this age, with such markers not being elevated as expected in South Asian infants. The timing of the rise of such markers to the levels found in adult South Asian populations needs longer prospective study.