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Inflammation plays a major role in the processes that contribute to atherogenesis, not only on the initiation and progression of atherosclerosis but also on plaque rupture, an event that leads to acute vascular events. Inflammatory biomarkers reflect different parts of the atherogenic process, from the initiation and progression of atherosclerosis to the destabilization of the atherosclerotic plaque. We have measured serum CRP, IL-1β, IL-10, IL-6 and TNF-α levels in just over 1500 twins from the TwinsUK study using a bead based high sensitivity cytokine assay. We are investigating the heritability of a number of these cytokines (including IL-6, CRP, IL-10, TNFa) in addition to the genetic determinants. As part of this project we are involved in a number of large CHARGE-led meta-analyses consortia and are looking to replicate our findings in further cohorts.

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