C-reactive protein (CRP) is an acute-phase protein, which has been used in clinical practice as a non specific marker of inflammation. Many studies have shown that CRP is associated with atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease. It is currently unknown if CRP plays an active role as an etiologic factor in cardiovascular disease. The mechanisms by which CRP may contribute to the pathogenesis of cardiovascular disease are poorly understood. The effect of CRP on atherogenesis may include interactions with other factors of immunity and inflammation, such as the complement system, as well as a direct effect of CRP on the cells involved in atherosclerotic lesions. We review the literature concerning the mechanisms by which CRP may influence the development of cardiovascular disease and discuss the findings of clinical studies assessing the association between CRP and cardiovascular disease.
Keywords: C-reactive protein, atherosclerosis, cardiovascular disease, prognostic factor, risk stratification
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