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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Acute-phase proteins are a class of proteins whose plasma concentrations increase (positive acute-phase proteins) or decrease (negative acute-phase proteins) in response to inflammation. This response is called the acute-phase reaction (also called acute-phase response).

Inflammatory cells and red blood cells

In response to injury, local inflammatory cells (neutrophil granulocytes and macrophages) secrete a number of cytokines into the bloodstream, most notable of which are the interleukins IL-1, IL-6 and IL-8, and TNF-α.

The liver responds by producing a large number of acute-phase reactants. At the same time, the production of a number of other proteins is reduced; these are, therefore, referred to as "negative" acute-phase reactants.



Positive acute-phase proteins serve different physiological functions for the immune system. Some act to destroy or inhibit growth of microbes, e.g., C-reactive protein, Mannose-binding protein, complement factors, ferritin, ceruloplasmin, Serum amyloid A and haptoglobin. Others give negative feedback on the inflammatory response, e.g. serpins. Alpha 2-macroglobulin and coagulation factors affect coagulation.

"Positive" acute-phase proteins:
Protein Immune system function
C-reactive protein Opsonin on microbes [1]
D-dimer protein fibrin degradation product
Mannose-binding protein Mannan-binding lectin pathway
Alpha 1-antitrypsin serpin, downregulates inflammation
Alpha 1-antichymotrypsin serpin, downregulates inflammation
Alpha 2-macroglobulin
Fibrinogen, prothrombin, factor VIII, von Willebrand factor, plasminogen coagulation factors
Complement factors Complement system
Ferritin Binding iron, inhibiting microbe iron uptake
Serum amyloid P component (see amyloid)
Serum amyloid A
Orosomucoid (Alpha-1-acid glycoprotein, AGP)
Ceruloplasmin Oxidizes iron, facilitating for ferritin, inhibiting microbe iron uptake
Haptoglobin Bind hemoglobin, inhibiting microbe iron uptake


"Negative" acute-phase proteins:
Protein Immune system function of decrease
Albumin [3]
Transferrin [3]
Transthyretin [3]
Transcortin Decreased binding of cortisol, upregulation of inflammation
Retinol-binding protein

Clinical significance

Measurement of acute-phase proteins, especially C-reactive protein, is a useful marker of inflammation in both medical and veterinary clinical pathology. It correlates with the erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR).

They may also indicate liver failure [4]


  1. ^ Lippincott's Illustrated Reviews: Immunology. Paperback: 384 pages. Publisher: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; (July 1, 2007). Language: English. ISBN 0781795435. ISBN 978-0781795432. Page 182
  2. ^ Boer JP, Creasey AA, Chang A, Abbink JJ, et al. (1993) "Alpha-2-macroglobulin functions as an inhibitor of fibrinolytic, clotting, and neutrophilic proteinases in sepsis: studies using a baboon model." Infect Immun. 61(12): 5035–5043.
  3. ^ a b c Ritchie RF, Palomaki GE, Neveux LM, Navolotskaia O, Ledue TB, Craig WY (1999). "Reference distributions for the negative acute-phase serum proteins, albumin, transferrin, and transthyretin: a practical, simple and clinically relevant approach in a large cohort". J. Clin. Lab. Anal. 13 (6): 273–9. PMID 10633294.  
  4. ^ Ananian P, Hardwigsen J, Bernard D, Le Treut YP (2005). "Serum acute-phase protein level as indicator for liver failure after liver resection". Hepatogastroenterology 52 (63): 857–61. PMID 15966220.  

See also

  • Wikipedia:MeSH_D12.776#MeSH_D12.776.124.050_---_acute-phase_proteins

External links



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