High levels of C-reactive protein are associated with reduced vagal modulation and low physical activity in young adults
The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between cardiac autonomic control derived from heart rate variability (HRV), high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP) and physical activity (PA) levels measured using accelerometers. A total of 80 healthy university students volunteered to participate in this study (20.56 ± 0.82 years, 1.36 ± 1.5 mg/L of hs-CRP). The participants were divided into groups based on tertiles of hs-CRP. Analysis of covariance adjusted to PA was used to assess group differences in HRV. Associations between hs-CRP, HRV indices and PA were analyzed using Pearson's correlation. The participants at the highest tertile of hs-CRP (tertile 3) had lower cardiac vagal modulation (SDNN, tertile 1=78.05 ± 5.9,tertile 2=82.43 ± 5.9,tertile 3=56.03 ± 6.1; SD1, tertile 1=61.27 ± 5.3, tertile 2=62.93 ± 5.4, tertile 3=40.03 ± 5.5). In addition, vagal indices were inversely correlated with hs-CRP but positively correlated with PA (SDNN r=−0.320, SD1 r=−0.377; SDNN r=0.304, SD1 r=0.299; P<0.05). Furthermore, the most physically active subjects had lower levels of hs-CRP and the highest levels of vagal modulation.