Chronic kidney disease (CKD) and arterial stiffness are associated with increased cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. Inflammation is proposed to have a role in the development of arterial stiffness, and CKD is recognized as a proinflammatory state. Arterial stiffness is increased in CKD, and cross-sectional data has suggested a link between increased inflammatory markers in CKD and higher measures of arterial stiffness. However, no large scale investigations have examined the impact of inflammation on the progression of arterial stiffness in CKD.
We performed baseline assessments of 5 inflammatory markers in 3,939 participants from the chronic renal insufficiency cohort (CRIC), along with serial measurements of arterial stiffness at 0, 2, and 4 years of follow-up.
A total of 2,933 participants completed each of the follow-up stiffness measures. In cross-sectional analysis at enrollment, significant associations with at least 2 measures of stiffness were observed for fibrinogen, interleukin-6, high-sensitivity C-reactive protein, proteinuria, and composite inflammation score after adjustment for confounders. In longitudinal analyses, there were few meaningful correlations between baseline levels of inflammation and changes in metrics of arterial stiffness over time.
In a large cohort of CKD participants, we observed multiple significant correlations between initial markers of inflammation and metrics of arterial stiffness, but baseline inflammation did not predict changes in arterial stiffness over time. While well-described biologic mechanisms provide the basis for our understanding of the cross-sectional results, continued efforts to design longitudinal studies are necessary to fully elucidate the relationship between chronic inflammation and arterial stiffening.