The biomarker GlycA is associated with chronic inflammation and predicts long-term risk of severe infection Academic Article uri icon


  • The biomarker glycoprotein acetylation (GlycA) has been shown to predict risk of cardiovascular disease and all-cause mortality. Here, we characterize biological processes associated with GlycA by leveraging population-based omics data and health records from >10,000 individuals. Our analyses show that GlycA levels are chronic within individuals for up to a decade. In apparently healthy individuals, elevated GlycA corresponded to elevation of myriad inflammatory cytokines, as well as a gene coexpression network indicative of increased neutrophil activity, suggesting that individuals with high GlycA may be in a state of chronic inflammatory response. Accordingly, analysis of infection-related hospitalization and death records showed that increased GlycA increased long-term risk of severe non-localized and respiratory infections, particularly septicaemia and pneumonia. In total, our work demonstrates that GlycA is a biomarker for chronic inflammation, neutrophil activity, and risk of future severe infection. It also illustrates the utility of leveraging multi-layered omics data and health records to elucidate the molecular and cellular processes associated with biomarkers.


  • Ritchie, Scott C
  • Würtz, Peter
  • Nath, Artika P
  • Abraham, Gad
  • Havulinna, Aki S
  • Fearnley, Liam G
  • Sarin, Antti-Pekka
  • Kangas, Antti J
  • Soininen, Pasi
  • Aalto, Kristiina
  • Seppälä, Ilkka
  • Raitoharju, Emma
  • Salmi, Marko
  • Maksimow, Mikael
  • Männistö, Satu
  • Kähönen, Mika
  • Juonala, Markus
  • Ripatti, Samuli
  • Lehtimäki, Terho
  • Jalkanen, Sirpa
  • Perola, Markus
  • Raitakari, Olli
  • Salomaa, Veikko
  • Ala-Korpela, Mika
  • Kettunen, Johannes
  • Inouye, Michael

publication date

  • 2015