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Disease Markers
Volume 24, Issue 1, Pages 33-39
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2008/184647

Erythrocyte Aggregation As an Early Biomarker in Patients with Asymptomatic Carotid Stenosis

Einor Ben Assayag,1 Irena Bova,1 Anat Kesler,1 Shlomo Berliner,2 Itzhak Shapira,2 and Natan M. Bornstein1

1Department of Neurology, Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center affiliated to Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel
2Department of Medicine “D”, Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center affiliated to Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel

Received 21 November 2007; Accepted 21 November 2007

Copyright © 2008 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Background: Atherosclerosis is a chronic inflammatory disease.

Design: We have evaluated the degree of erythrocyte aggregation (EA) as a microinflammatory biomarker in a cohort of hospital-based, neurologically asymptomatic outpatients.

Methods: The degree of EA and carotid artery stenosis was evaluated in 510 individuals by using a simple slide test and image analysis.

Results: Four hundred and sixteen individuals had minimal carotid stenosis (< 30%); 47 had mild to moderate stenosis (30–69%) and 47 had severe stenosis (>70%). A significant correlation was noted between the degree of carotid stenosis and the erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR), white blood cell count (WBCC) and fibrinogen (r=0.160, p=0.005;r=0.191, p=0.001 andr=0.126, p=0.026, respectively). The significant correlation was noted between the degree of carotid stenosis and EA (r=0.209, p < 0.001). The subjects with severe stenosis differed significantly from the other groups in their ESR, WBCC and EA. High sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP) concentrations did not discriminate between the presence and absence of significant carotid atherosclerotic disease.

Conclusions: Inflammatory biomarkers such as ESR and the EA test are more sensitive than hs-CRP to the presence of a significant atherosclerotic carotid burden. These biomarkers might aid in the detection and quantification of microinflammation in individuals with carotid atherosclerosis.