Circulating C-reactive protein (pCRP) concentrations rise dramatically during both acute (e.g., following stroke) or chronic infection and disease (e.g., autoimmune conditions such as lupus), providing complement fixation through C1q protein binding. It is now known, that on exposure to the membranes of activated immune cells (and microvesicles and platelets), or damaged/dysfunctional tissue, it undergoes lysophosphocholine (LPC)-phospholipase-C-dependent dissociation to the monomeric form (mCRP), concomitantly becoming biologically active. We review histological, immunohistochemical, and morphological/topological studies of post-mortem brain tissue from individuals with neuroinflammatory disease, showing that mCRP becomes stably distributed within the parenchyma, and resident in the arterial intima and lumen, being "released" from damaged, hemorrhagic vessels into the extracellular matrix. The possible de novo synthesis via neurons, endothelial cells, and glia is also considered. In vitro, in vivo, and human tissue co-localization analyses have linked mCRP to neurovascular dysfunction, vascular activation resulting in increased permeability, and leakage, compromise of blood brain barrier function, buildup of toxic proteins including tau and beta amyloid (Aβ), association with and capacity to "manufacture" Aβ-mCRP-hybrid plaques, and, greater susceptibility to neurodegeneration and dementia. Recently, several studies linked chronic CRP/mCRP systemic expression in autoimmune disease with increased risk of dementia and the mechanisms through which this occurs are investigated here. The neurovascular unit mediates correct intramural periarterial drainage, evidence is provided here that suggests a critical impact of mCRP on neurovascular elements that could suggest its participation in the earliest stages of dysfunction and conclude that further investigation is warranted. We discuss future therapeutic options aimed at inhibiting the pCRP-LPC mediated dissociation associated with brain pathology, for example, compound 1,6-bis-PC, injected intravenously, prevented mCRP deposition and associated damage, after temporary left anterior descending artery ligation and myocardial infarction in a rat model.
Keywords: monomeric C-reactive protein; neurodegeneration; vascular dysfunction.
© 2023 The Authors. Brain Pathology published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of International Society of Neuropathology.