The classical acute-phase protein, C-reactive protein (CRP), is an exquisitely sensitive systemic marker of disease with broad clinical utility for monitoring and differential diagnosis. Inflammation, the key regulator of CRP synthesis, plays a pivotal role in atherothrombotic cardiovascular disease. There is a powerful predictive association between raised serum CRP values and the outcome of acute coronary syndromes, and, remarkably, between even modestly increased CRP production and future atherothrombotic events in otherwise healthy individuals. Baseline CRP values also reflect metabolic states associated with atherothrombotic events. The presence of CRP within most atherosclerotic plaques and all acute myocardial infarction lesions, coupled with binding of CRP to lipoproteins and its capacity for pro-inflammatory complement activation, suggests that CRP may contribute to the pathogenesis and complications of cardiovascular disease.
C-reactive protein (CRP), named for its capacity to precipitate the somatic C-polysaccharide of Streptococcus pneumoniae,was the first acute-phase protein to be described, and is an exquisitely sensitive systemic marker of inflammation and tissue damage.