You might not know that….C reactive protein

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What it is? CRP is a major acute phase protein in dogs. CRP protein is a molecule produced in the liver by the hepatocytes in response to inflammatory stimuli e.g. tissue damage and/or infections. The function of CRP is to bind different molecules that are released or present during inflammation, such as different cell fragments and bacteria. When the inflammatory cells are activated by different inflammatory stimuli, the acute phase response is triggered and different cytokines are released from the inflammatory cells (IL-6). These induce an enhanced CRP-production in the liver within about 4-6 hours. If the inflammation ceases, the CRP concentrations in the blood peak within 48 hours and then return to normal level within 1-2 weeks.

Which are the advantages of using CRP to monitor canine inflammation?

  • Sample stability: CRP is stable during storage, especially in serum or plasma. Blood samples containing CRP can be easily stored overnight at 4°C and for more than 2 months at -20°C.
  • Diagnostic specificity: CRP is almost exclusively elevated if inflammatory stimuli is present. False-positive results are not induced by excessive stress, as often seen with some leukocyte markers of inflammation (e.g neutrophilia and lymphopenia).
  • Diagnostic sensitivity: CRP in dogs is an extremely sensitive marker of inflammation and will likely increase before any other parameter.
  • Treatment-independent marker: CRP as an inflammatory marker is not influenced by standard therapy. Inflammation can be measured/monitored using CRP in dogs undergoing steroid NSAIDs therapy, or are given antibiotics.