C-reactive protein (CRP)
CRP is a major acute phase protein that is produced by the liver and released into the blood in response to a wide range of localised or systemic inflammatory conditions. It can increase by as much as several hundred-fold and very rapidly as a response to acute inflammation and numerous clinical conditions. CRP also drops very rapidly as the disease starts to be resolved.
Consequently, biomarkers such as CRP provide a good snapshot of either disease progression or disease resolution in real-time. Testing for CRP can now be accurately, rapidly, and conveniently performed in the clinic or by a veterinary reference laboratory. This allows for timely and objective monitoring of treatment efficacy, indicating if treatment can be stopped or if the treatment protocol needs to be changed.
When CRP is measured ALONGSIDE other more specific biomarkers it is a good indicator of the type of disease present, providing a simple minimally invasive, diagnostic test which also allows the vet to monitor the efficacy of treatment. An example of this approach is to combine measurements of CRP and procalcitonin (PCT) using the SPARCL™ technique. PCT levels increase dramatically in response to bacterial lipopolysaccharide, and as such is recognised as a biomarker for Gram negative bacterial infection. In this context, PCT is receiving growing interest as a tool to improve antibiotic stewardship. If PCT is elevated in blood, antibiotics would be indicated. Serial CRP measurements can then be used to monitor antibiotic efficacy.
We have many other biomarkers that can be combined with CRP to assist in the diagnosis of different diseases and their progression and monitoring. Please see our biomarker page for the full list and the conditions covered.