C-reactive protein relaxes human vessels in vitro

Leonid Sternik, Saquib Samee, Hartzel V. Schaff, Kenton J. Zehr, Lilach O. Lerman, David R. Holmes, Joerg Herrmann, Amir Lerman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


Objective - C-reactive protein (CRP) is a sensitive marker of inflammation and a prognostic marker in cardiovascular disease. Evidence suggests direct biological activities of CRP within the vascular wall. The study was designed to examine the vasoreactive effects of CRP. Methods and Results - Human internal mammary artery rings were obtained during cardiovascular bypass surgery and suspended in an organ bath chamber. The rings were precontracted with endothelin-1, and response to cumulative concentrations of CRP was obtained. Experiments were repeated after initial incubation with 20, 40, and 60 mmol/L KCl, the potassium channel blockers BaCl, tetraethylammonium chloride, and glibenclamide, and the NO synthase inhibitor N-monomethyl-L-arginine and also after removal of the endothelium. CRP caused dose-dependent relaxation of human internal mammary artery rings, which was not affected by preincubation with N-monomethyl-L-arginine or removal of the endothelium. Maximum relaxation response to CRP (79.5±10%) was attenuated by KCl (2.5±11.5%, P<0.001), BaCl (24.5±7.5%, P<0.001), and tetraethylammonium chloride (34.9±8.25%, P<0.01) but not by glibenclamide. Conclusions - The present study demonstrates that CRP exerts an endothelium-independent vasorelaxing effect via potassium channels. Thus, the study suggests a role of CRP in the regulation of vascular tone.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1865-1868
Number of pages4
JournalArteriosclerosis, thrombosis, and vascular biology
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2002


  • Atherosclerosis
  • C-reactive protein
  • Inflammation
  • Potassium channels
  • Vasorelaxation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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