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Low-Grade Inflammation in the Association between Mild-to-Moderate Hypertriglyceridemia and Risk of Acute Pancreatitis: A Study of More Than 115000 Individuals from the General Population

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BACKGROUND: How mild-to-moderate hypertriglyceridemia (2-10 mmol/L; 177-886 mg/dL) potentially causes acute pancreatitis is unknown; however, cellular studies indicate that inflammation might be a driver of disease progression. We tested the hypotheses that (a) mild-to-moderate hypertriglyceridemia is associated with low-grade inflammation and that (b) the association between mild-to-moderate hypertriglyceridemia and risk of acute pancreatitis depends on low-grade inflammation.

METHODS: From the Copenhagen General Population Study and the Copenhagen City Heart Study, 117865 men and women 20-100+ years of age with measurements of nonfasting plasma triglycerides at baseline were followed prospectively for development of acute pancreatitis.

RESULTS: After multivariable adjustment, a 1 mmol/L (89 mg/dL) higher nonfasting triglyceride concentration was associated with 17% (95% CI, 16%-18%, P = 3 × 10-17) higher plasma C-reactive protein (CRP) and a 4.2% (4.0%-4.4%, P = 6 × 10-17) higher blood leukocyte count. Higher concentrations of nonfasting triglycerides were associated almost linearly with higher risk of acute pancreatitis (P for trend = 5 × 10-6), with hazard ratios of 1.5 (95% CI, 0.9-2.5), 2.0 (95% CI, 1.1-3.6), 2.2 (95% CI, 1.0-4.7), 4.2 (95% CI, 1.6-11.5), and 7.7 (95% CI, 3.0-19.8) in individuals with nonfasting triglycerides of 1.00-1.99 mmol/L (89-176 mg/dL; 46% of the population), 2.00-2.99 mmol/L (177-265 mg/dL; 17%), 3.00-3.99 mmol/L (266-353 mg/dL; 6%), 4.00-4.99 mmol/L (354-442 mg/dL; 2%), and ≥5mmol/L(443 mg/dL; 2%), respectively, vs individuals with <1 mmol/L (89 mg/dL; 27%). The association with risk of acute pancreatitis appeared more pronounced in individuals with CRP of ≥1.39 mg/L (P for trend = 0.001) and leukocytes of ≥7 × 109/L (P = 2 × 10-4) than in those with CRP <1.39 mg/L (P = 0.03) and leukocytes <7 × 109/L (P = 0.04); however, there was no formal evidence of statistical interaction (P = 0.38 for CRP and P = 0.41 for leukocytes).

CONCLUSIONS: Mild-to-moderate hypertriglyceridemia is associated with low-grade inflammation and higher risk of acute pancreatitis. The association between mild-to-moderate hypertriglyceridemia and risk of acute pancreatitis is possibly partly mediated by low-grade inflammation.

Original languageEnglish
JournalClinical Chemistry
Volume65
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)321-332
Number of pages12
ISSN0009-9147
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2019

ID: 56612016