Human C-reactive protein is protective against fatal Streptococcus pneumoniae infection in transgenic mice

Academic Article


  • C-reactive protein (CRP) is an acute phase protein with a well known association with infection and other inflammatory conditions. Studies with use of purified CRP in in vitro assays provided early evidence that CRP has antibacterial activity. Subsequently it was shown that passively administered human CRP can protect mice from lethal infection with Streptococcus pneumoniae. In this study, we extend these observations to an in vivo model of host resistance by using human CRP transgenic mice. CRP transgenic mice experimentally infected with S. pneumoniae lived longer and had significantly lower mortality than their nontransgenic littermates. This increased resistance to infection was associated with a 10- to 400-fold reduction of bacteremia. Furthermore, male transgenics exhibited longer survival time than females, and this difference could be attributed to increased expression of CRP by males, which was mediated by testosterone. This study provides the first unequivocal evidence that CRP plays an important role in vivo in host defense against pneumococcal infections, and shows that sex hormones can affect expression of the human CRP transgene in mice.
  • Published In

    Author List

  • Szalai AJ; Briles DE; Volanakis JE
  • Start Page

  • 2557
  • End Page

  • 2563
  • Volume

  • 155
  • Issue

  • 5