In response to an injury, local inflammatory cells secrete cytokines (small proteins) into the bloodstream. Then the liver responds by producing a large number of acute-phase reactants (APR). These acute phase proteins regulates the immune responses, transport proteins for products generated during inflammatory process, and also play an active role in repairing tissue and tissue remodeling.
Acute inflammation has two responses that alter the temperature set point in the hypothalamus, and plasma protein metabolism in the liver. During times of non-inflammatory conditions, the liver produces a wide range of concentrations of plasma proteins. But the plasma concentration of acute-phase proteins changes in response to inflammation. Acute-phase proteins are defined as proteins whose concentrations increase or decrease during times of inflammatory states. These proteins are either positive or negative acute-phase reactants. The measurement of acute-phase proteins, especially the C-reactive protein, is a useful marker of inflammation in the medical field.
C-reactive protein (+)
C-reactive protein (CRP) is the most studied positive acute-phase protein. The plasma concentrations of CRP, which can be measured in your blood, increases dramatically following inflammation. The increase in CRP levels reflects the intensity of the inflammation. There can be up to a thousand fold increases in CRP that can be detected following trauma, infection, burns, and surgery. The more moderate increases are associated with stress and exercise.
Researchers have found that the higher levels of C-reactive protein create a greater risk of psychological stress, clinical depression, heart attacks and cardiovascular illness. Another potential issue is the possibility that the systemic inflammation can cause leakiness in the blood-brain barrier. It increases the permeability of the blood-brain barrier, which leads to inflammation in the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus is in the region of the forebrain that coordinates the autonomic nervous system, controls body temperature, thirst, hunger, and it is involved in sleep and emotional activity. This neuroinflammation can cause the impairment of central nervous system function.
Written by: Colbi Judd
Acute Phase Proteins, www.rndsystems.com
Chris Kresser, Could a Leaky Gut be Making You Fat? www.chriskresser.com
Nicholas Bakalar, Inflammation Byproduct Linked to Stress. www.nytimes.com
C-Reactive Protein (CRP), www.webmd.com