Background: Components of the metabolic syndrome are associated with low-grade inflammation. This can be accompanied by the synthesis of sticky proteins and erythrocyte aggregation. Methods: The degree of erythrocyte aggregation was evaluated by a simple slide test and image analysis along with other markers of the acute-phase response, including the white blood cell count (WBCC), erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR), fibrinogen and high sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP) concentrations. Patients were categorized in four groups according to the absence or presence of 1, 2 and 3 or more components of the metabolic syndrome. Results: We examined a total of 1447 individuals (576 women and 871 men) who gave their informed consent for participation. A significant cardiovascular risk factors, age and hemoglobin adjusted correlation was noted between the degree of erythrocyte aggregation and the number of components of the metabolic syndrome (r = 0.17, p < 0.0005). This correlation was better than that observed for clottable fibrinogen (r = 0.13 p < 0.0005), for ESR (r = 0.11 p < 0.0005) or WBCC (r = 0.13 p < 0.0005). A somewhat better correlation was noted for hs-CRP (r = 0.26 p < 0.0005). Conclusions: The multiplicity of components of the metabolic syndrome is associated with enhanced erythrocyte aggregation, probably related to the presence of multiple adhesive macromolecules in the peripheral blood. The enhanced aggregation might contribute to capillary slow flow, tissue deoxygenation as well as vasomotor tone changes in the presence of multiple components of this syndrome.
- Erythrocyte aggregation
- Metabolic syndrome