7 Citations (Scopus)


C-reactive protein (CRP) is an acute-phase protein in humans that is produced in high quantities by the liver upon infection and under inflammatory conditions. Although CRP is commonly used as a marker of inflammation, CRP can also directly contribute to inflammation by eliciting pro-inflammatory cytokine production by immune cells. Since CRP is highly elevated in serum under inflammatory conditions, we have studied the CRP-induced cytokine profile of human monocytes, one of the main innate immune cell populations in blood. We identified that CRP is relatively unique in its capacity to induce production of the pro-inflammatory cytokine IL-23, which was in stark contrast to a wide panel of pattern recognition receptor (PRR) ligands. We show that CRP-induced IL-23 production was mediated at the level of gene transcription, since CRP particularly promoted gene transcription of IL23A (encoding IL-23p19) instead of IL12A (encoding IL-12p35), while PRR ligands induce the opposite response. Interestingly, when CRP stimulation was combined with PRR ligand stimulation, as for example, occurs in the context of sepsis, IL-23 production by monocytes was strongly reduced. Combined, these data identify CRP as a unique individual ligand to induce IL-23 production by monocytes, which may contribute to shaping systemic immune responses under inflammatory conditions.
Original languageEnglish
Article number11638
JournalInternational journal of molecular sciences
Issue number21
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2021


  • C-reactive protein
  • Fc receptor
  • IL-23
  • Inflammation
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Monocyte
  • Sepsis

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