acute phase proteins

Last reviewed 05/2021

Acute phase proteins are proteins whose levels fluctuate in response to tissue injury of a variety of kinds - including trauma, myocardial infarction, acute infections, burns, chronic inflammation - as in Crohn's disease, rheumatoid arthritis and malignancy

  • synthesised by hepatocytes and are produced in high numbers in response to cytokines released from macrophages (for example, inflammatory cytokines such as interleukin-1, interleukin-6 and TNF)

Serum proteins that may increase include:

  • C-reactive protein
  • alpha-1 anti-chymotrypsin
  • alpha-1 anti-trypsin
  • haptoglobins
  • caeruloplasmin
  • serum amyloid A
  • fibrinogen
  • ferritin
  • complement components C3, C4

Those that may decrease include:

  • pre-albumin and albumin
  • transferrin

The acute phase proteins function to:

  • regulate inflammatory mediator levels during inflammation in response to demand
  • opsonize foreign organisms and particles