OBJECTIVE: To assess the association of circulating levels of C-reactive protein, a sensitive systemic marker of inflammation, with different components of the metabolic syndrome. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS: Total cholesterol (TC), HDL cholesterol, triglycerides, uric acid, BMI , and prevalence of diabetes and hypertension were assessed in 747 men and 956 women aged 18-89 years who were participating in the population-based National Health and Nutrition Survey, which was carried out in former West Germany in 1987-1988. RESULTS: There was a statistically significant positive crude correlation between C-reactive protein and TC (R = 0.19), TG (R = 0.29), BMI (R = 0.32), glucose (R = 0.11), and uric acid (R = 0.14) (all P < 0.0001). A negative correlation was found between C-reactive protein and HDL cholesterol (R = 0.13, P < 0.0001). The age-adjusted geometric means of C-reactive protein concentrations in subjects grouped according to the presence of 0-1, 2-3, and > or =4 features of the metabolic syndrome were 1.11, 1.27, and 2.16 mg/l, respectively, with a statistically highly significant trend (P < 0.0001). CONCLUSIONS: The data suggest that a variety of features of the metabolic syndrome are associated with a systemic inflammatory response.

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