C-reactive protein (CRP) is a positive, acute-phase protein. Plasma levels rise dramatically in response to tissue injury or inflammation and fall rapidly after recovery or treatment. Antibody-based human CRP test systems do not readily detect CRP from other animals due to the species specificity of antibodies directed against human CRP. Thus, generic systems for CRP detection, based solely on the interaction between CRP and phosphocholine (PC), have been developed. PC-bovine serum albumin (PC-BSA) conjugates were produced and either labeled with horseradish peroxidase to facilitate CRP detection in a CRP enzyme-linked sorbent assay (ELSA) or coupled to carboxy-modified microspheres to facilitate the nonenzymatic, turbidimetric detection of CRP. The CRP-ELSA is a competitive assay, where the total assay time is 45 min, the assay sensitivity is 1.06 mg/L CRP, and the dynamic range of the assay is 0-500 mg/L. When PC-BSA conjugate is covalently coupled to carboxylated microspheres, agglutination occurs in the presence of CRP, the extent of which depends on the quantity of CRP present in the sample. Total assay time is 5 min with a dynamic range of 25-500 mg/L. Both assay formats are capable of accurately detecting human CRP and the CRP-ELSA can detect canine CRP as a disease state indicator. (C) 2003 Elsevier Science (USA). All rights reserved.