BACKGROUND: Rises in circulating C-reactive protein (CRP), the prototypical acute-phase protein in humans, correlate with clinical outcome in patients with myocardial ischemia and infarction. We hypothesized that these correlations might reflect active participation of CRP in the local inflammatory response ensuing in the jeopardized myocardium because on binding to a ligand, CRP is able to activate the classic pathway of complement, and in addition, complement activation has been shown to occur locally in infarcted myocardium.
METHODS AND RESULTS: To verify our hypothesis, we investigated localization of CRP in relation to deposition of complement in tissue specimens of infarcted and healthy heart tissue obtained from 17 patients who had died after acute myocardial infarction. CRP was found to be deposited only in infarcted regions and not in normal-appearing areas of the myocardium, being colocalized with depositions of C4 and C3 activation fragments of the complement system. Deposition of CRP and complement in infarcted myocardium appeared to be time dependent, because it was found in all infarctions except for one of young age (< 12 hours old) and two of greater age (> 1 year old), whereas another tissue specimen of an infarct < 12 hours old showed only moderate but positive staining for both CRP and complement in comparison with older infarctions.
CONCLUSIONS: We conclude that in humans, CRP may localize in infarcted heart tissue and suggest that this acute-phase protein promotes local complement activation, and hence tissue damage, in acute myocardial infarction.
|Number of pages||7|
|Publication status||Published - 7 Jan 1997|