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A significant correlation between C - reactive protein levels in blood monocytes derived macrophages versus content in carotid atherosclerotic lesions

Marielle Kaplan1*, Shadi Hamoud2, Yevgeny Tendler1, Edna Meilin3, Aviva Lazarovitch3, Samy Nitecki4 and Tony Hayek23

Author Affiliations

1 Laboratory of Clinical Biochemistry, Rambam Health Care Campus, Haifa, Israel

2 Department of Internal Medicine E, Rambam Health Care Campus, Haifa, Israel

3 Lipid Research Laboratory, The Ruth and Bruce Rappaport Faculty of Medicine, Technion, Haifa, Israel

4 Department of Vascular Surgery, Rambam Health Care Campus, Haifa, Israel

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Journal of Inflammation 2014, 11:7  doi:10.1186/1476-9255-11-7

Published: 3 March 2014



Atherosclerosis is a complex disease involving different cell types, including macrophages that play a major role in the inflammatory events occurring in atherogenesis. C-Reactive Protein (CRP) is a sensitive systemic marker of inflammation and was identified as a biomarker of cardiovascular diseases. Histological studies demonstrate CRP presence in human atherosclerotic lesions, and we have previously shown that macrophages express CRP mRNA. CRP could be locally secreted in the atherosclerotic lesion by arterial macrophages and local regulation of CRP could affect its pro-atherogenic effects. Moreover, human blood derived macrophages (HMDM) expression of CRP could reflect atherosclerotic lesion secretion of CRP.


Ten type 2 diabetic patients and ten non-diabetic patients scheduled to undergo carotid endarterectomy were enrolled in this study, and their blood samples were used for serum CRP, lipid determination, and for preparation of HMDM further analyzed for their CRP mRNA expression and CRP content. Carotid lesions obtained from the patients were analyzed for their CRP and interleukin 6 (IL-6) content by immunohistochemistry.


Lesions from diabetic patients showed substantially higher CRP levels by 62% (p = 0.05) than lesions from non diabetic patients, and CRP staining that co-localized with arterial macrophages. CRP carotid lesion levels positively correlated with CRP mRNA expression (r2 = 0.661) and with CRP content (r2 = 0.611) in the patient’s HMDM.


Diabetes up-regulated carotid plaques CRP levels and CRP measurements in HMDM could reflect atherosclerotic lesion macrophages secretion of CRP. Understanding the regulation of locally produced macrophage CRP in the arterial wall during atherogenesis could be of major importance in identifying the underlying mechanisms of inflammatory response pathways during atherogenesis.

C-reactive protein; Atherosclerosis; Macrophages; Inflammation