C-reactive protein correlates with macrophage accumulation in coronary arteries of hypercholesterolemic pigs

James R. Turk, Jeffery A. Carroll, M. Harold Laughlin, Tom R. Thomas, Jennifer Casati, Douglas K. Bowles, Michael Sturek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

39 Scopus citations


A growing body of evidence supports the hypothesis that C-reactive protein (CRP) is a marker of inflammation in coronary artery disease. The purpose of the present study was to test the hypothesis that CRP correlates with macrophage accumulation during the initial stages of coronary vascular disease. Adult male pigs were fed a normal chow (NF) or a high-fat high-cholesterol (HF) diet for 20 wk. After 20 wk, blood was collected for analyses of interleukin-6 (IL-6), CRP, and lipids. After blood collection, the pigs were euthanized and the right coronary arteries (RCA) were harvested and fixed in neutral buffered formalin. Paraffin-embedded sections of RCA were stained immunohistochemically for CRP, scavenger receptor A (SRA), and monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1). All cholesterol fractions were elevated in the HF vs. the NF group (P < 0.05). There Was little or no positive staining for CRP, SRA, or MCP-1 in the RCA of NF pigs, but there was extensive staining in lipid-laden macrophage foam cells in the HF pigs. Double staining revealed colocalization of CRP with SRA and CRP with MCP-1 in foam cells. Serum IL-6 was below the assay detection limit in all pigs. Serum CRP correlated directly with plasma total cholesterol (R = 0.727, P = 0.041) and accumulation of SRA-positive macrophages (R = 0.938, P < 0.001) in RCA of HF pigs. We conclude that serum CRP correlates with macrophage accumulation and coronary artery disease in hypercholesterolemic pigs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1301-1304
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Applied Physiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Hypercholesterolemia
  • Monocyte chemoattractant protein
  • Scavenger receptor A

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)

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