C-Reactive Protein (CRP), Serum

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Subject: C-Reactive Protein (CRP), Serum

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Definition

  • CRP is a cytokine-induced, acute-phase protein and is useful in the detection and evaluation of infection, tissue injury, and inflammatory disorders. Plasma levels begin increasing within 4–6 hours after initial tissue injury and continue to increase several hundred-folds within 24–48 hours. CRP remains elevated during the acute-phase response and returns to normal with restoration of tissue structure and function. The rise in CRP is exponential, doubling every 8–9 hours. The half-life is <24 hours.

  • Normal range: Less than 10 mg/L.

Use

  • For evaluation of infection, tissue injury, and inflammatory disorders

  • Provides information for the diagnosis, therapy, and monitoring of inflammatory disorders

  • Independent risk factor for atherosclerosis, cardiac vascular events, hypertension, and MI

Interpretation

Increased In

  • Acute inflammation

  • Rheumatoid arthritis, lupus

  • Cardiovascular disease, atherosclerosis

  • Oral contraceptives

  • Inflammatory bowel disease

  • Giant cell arteritis

  • Osteomyelitis

  • Cancer of the lymph nodes

  • Pregnancy

Decreased In

  • Patients treated with carboxypenicillins

  • Liver failure

Limitations

  • Elevated C-reactive protein (CRP) values are nonspecific and should not be interpreted without a complete clinical history.

  • Heterophile antibodies may falsely increase levels.

  • Elevated levels of CRP are influenced by genetics, age, a sedentary lifestyle, stress, exposure to environmental toxins, and diet that specifically contains refined, processed, and manufactured foods.

 
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