The LIQUID (LIfecourse QUantification of Inflammation and carDiometabolic health) Study: relationships between inflammatory markers and preclinical cardiometabolic phenotypes across the life course
Cardiovascular diseases, such as stroke and heart attacks, and metabolic diseases, such as diabetes, (collectively 'cardiometabolic' diseases) are a major health burden and cause of death worldwide. While there are treatments and lifestyle interventions for these conditions, there is usually permanent damage to cardiovascular and metabolic systems by the time they are identified clinically. Growing evidence indicates that cardiometabolic diseases begin from childhood, and slowing this process earlier in life, before permanent damage occurs, may be more clinically and economically beneficial than interventions in adulthood. Based on evidence in adults, chronic inflammation likely plays a key role in accelerating cardiometabolic disease. High-sensitivity C-Reactive Protein (hsCRP) is a marker of acute inflammation that has traditionally been to help predict risk of cardiometabolic disease, but a more recently discovered marker of chronic inflammation, glycoprotein acetyls (GlycA), may be better. In addition, chronic inflammation may explain why those who are socioeconomically disadvantaged are disproportionately affected by cardiometabolic diseases. We have developed the LIQUID (LIfecourse QUantification of Inflammation and carDiometabolic health) Study to address these key questions from infancy to old age for the first time.
Using data that has already been collected in UK Biobank and other studies internationally of various ages, we aim to investigate:
- The relationship between hsCRP and GlycA
- The relationship of hsCRP and GlycA with a range of detailed cardiovascular measurements that can be used to predict cardiovascular disease risk before it occurs
- The relationship of hsCRP and GlycA with a range of metabolites that can be used to predict cardiometabolic disease risk before it occurs
- The relationship of socioeconomic position with these predictive cardiovascular measurements, and whether inflammation drives this relationship
And we also aim to use the unique data available in the UK Biobank to investigate:
- The relationship between infection (a major cause of inflammation) and cardiovascular health outcomes.
We will also investigate whether these relationships differ by age and sex.
This project is anticipated to take 3 years for analysis and dissemination of findings to the public and to scientific communities. We anticipate this project will improve understanding on the optimal markers of inflammation to assess cardiometabolic disease risk, and to identify age groups where intervention might be most effect to reduce later cardiometabolic disease. Longer term, we anticipate that this project will contribute to the development of interventions to improve cardiometabolic health in high-risk populations by reducing inflammation.