C-Reactive Protein (CRP) is a protein found in the blood in response to inflammation, which is why C-Reactive Protein is said to be an acute-phase protein.
It should not be confused with Protein C or Peptide C. It is produced in the intestine and by fat cells or adipocytes.
C-Reactive Protein is a member of the class of acute phase reactants, which means that during inflammatory processes that occur in the body, its levels increase dramatically. This increase is due to an increase in interleukin 6 (IL-6) in plasma concentration, which is produced predominantly by macrophages and adipocytes.
In addition to being an indicator of acute inflammation, its main functions are believed to be to assist in the complementary attachment of damaged or recognized “foreign” cells to enhance macrophage phagocytosis and to participate in innate immunity as a first immune system. defense against infections.
C-Reactive Protein is mainly used to determine the start of inflammation that is occurring in the body. Normal C-Reactive Protein levels rise within 6 hours and peak within 48 hours. Its half-life is constant and therefore its level is primarily determined by the rate of production (and thus the severity of the cause).
Except for liver failure, there are few factors that modify the levels of C-reactive protein production.
Measuring and quantifying the level of C-Reactive Protein can be useful to determine the effectiveness of a treatment or to know how advanced a disease or infection is.
Viral infections usually produce lower values of C-reactive protein than bacterial infections.
Normal values for C-Reactive Protein in blood tests are less than 5 or 6 mg per liter of blood.
Recent research suggests that patients with elevated levels of C-Reactive Protein are at high risk for diabetes, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease. The role of inflammation in cancer is not well understood. Some organs of the body show an increased risk of cancer when they are chronically inflamed.