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C-Reactive protein and the immune response

Terry W. Du Clos
From: Science & Medicine: Volume 8 Number 2: Page 108 (April 2002)

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Abstract: CRP is a serum protein that is widely used as a marker of acute inflammation and infection. Several functions of CRP have been defined and recently insights into its molecular basis of action have been made. Like antibodies, CRP has binding sites and effector sites through which it interacts with other components of host defense. The binding of CRP to pathogens and to altered self-antigens suggest that CRP serves a surveillance role in innate immunity. By binding to pathogens it activates the classical complement pathway of complement and promotes phagocytosis, clearance and killing. By binding to damaged membranes and exposed nuclear antigens it provides a scavenging function, which promotes clearance and downregulates autoimmunity. It has recently been determined that CRP interacts with receptors for IgG on host phagocytes and provides a bridge between innate and acquired immunity.

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