Original Research Article
Blood lipids, infection, and inflammatory markers in the Tsimane of Bolivia
Article first published online: 18 AUG 2010
Copyright © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
American Journal of Human Biology
Volume 22, Issue 6, pages 731–740, November/December 2010
How to Cite
Vasunilashorn, S., Crimmins, E. M., Kim, J. K., Winking, J., Gurven, M., Kaplan, H. and Finch, C. E. (2010), Blood lipids, infection, and inflammatory markers in the Tsimane of Bolivia. Am. J. Hum. Biol., 22: 731–740. doi: 10.1002/ajhb.21074
- Issue published online: 16 OCT 2010
- Article first published online: 18 AUG 2010
- Manuscript Accepted: 29 APR 2010
- Manuscript Revised: 22 MAR 2010
- Manuscript Received: 25 AUG 2009
- National Institute on Aging. Grant Numbers: RD1AG024119-01, P30AG17265, R21AG031988, T32AG0037
- National Science Foundation. Grant Number: BCS-0422690
- Keck Foundation
- USC Oakley Fellowship Fund
- Ziegler Fund, and the Ellison Medical Foundation
Objectives: Little is known about blood cholesterol (blood-C) levels under conditions of infection and limited diet. This study examines blood-C and markers of infection and inflammation in the Tsimane of the Bolivian Amazon, indigenous forager farmers living in conditions that model preindustrial European populations by their short life expectancy, high load of infections and inflammation, and limited diets.
Methods: We use multivariate models to determine the relationships between lipid levels and markers of infection and inflammation. Adult Tsimane (N = 418, age 20–84) were characterized for blood lipids, cells, and inflammatory markers in relation to individual loads of parasites and village region.
Results: Most of the Tsimane (60%) carried at least one parasite species, averaging 1.3 species per person. Serum high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), total cholesterol (total-C), and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) were below the U.S. norms and varied inversely with markers of infection and inflammation: C-reactive protein (CRP), interleukin-6 (IL-6), erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR), immunoglobulin (Ig) E and eosinophil count. Although no relationship of parasite load to blood-C was found, there was an association between anemia and parasite prevalence.
Conclusions: We conclude that the highly infected environment of the Tsimane is related to low levels of blood total-C, HDL-C, and LDL-C. This may suggest a potential reason why arterial disease is largely absent in the Tsimane. Am. J. Hum. Biol., 2010. © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.