• Alexander J. Szalai, PhD (Alex) has a long history of excellence in research and a strong record of funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Department of Defense, and various private foundations.. He is internationally recognized for his work on the biology of C-reactive protein and its contribution to the maintenance of health, the propagation of disease, and the tissue response to injury. In addition to his research activities, Alex has excelled at teaching and has made significant contributions to UAB education at all levels. Currently he serves as the Division of Clinical Immunology and Rheumatology’s Associate Director for Research. He also serves on the Department of Medicine Research Development Group, the School of Medicine Faculty Council, and the UAB University Wide Grievance and Termination Committee.
  • Selected Publications

    Academic Article

    Year Title Altmetric
    2021 Decreased Levels of STAT1 and Interferon-γ–Induced STAT1 Phosphorylation in Rheumatoid Arthritis CD4 and CD8 T CellsAcr Open Rheumatology.  3:277-283. 2021
    2021 Therapeutic Lowering of C-Reactive ProteinFrontiers in Immunology.  11. 2021
    2019 Mice expressing the variant rs1143679 allele of ITGAM (CD11b) show impaired DC-mediated T cell proliferationMammalian Genome.  30:245-259. 2019
    2019 C-Reactive Protein Promotes the Expansion of Myeloid Derived Cells With Suppressor FunctionsFrontiers in Immunology.  10. 2019
    2018 C-reactive protein impairs dendritic cell development, maturation, and function: Implications for peripheral toleranceFrontiers in Immunology.  9. 2018
    2018 Hyposialylated IgG activates endothelial IgG receptor FcγRIIB to promote obesity-induced insulin resistanceJournal of Clinical Investigation.  128:309-322. 2018
    2016 C-reactive protein promotes acute kidney injury via Smad3-dependent inhibition of CDK2/cyclin EKidney International.  90:610-626. 2016
    2016 C-reactive protein exacerbates renal ischemia-reperfusion injury: Are myeloid-derived suppressor cells to blame?American Journal of Physiology: Renal Physiology.  311:F176-F181. 2016
    2016 Human C-reactive protein impedes entry of leptin into the CNS and attenuates its physiological actions in the CNSBiochemical Journal.  473:1215-1224. 2016
    2015 Serum eotaxin-1 is increased in extremely-low-birth-weight infants with bronchopulmonary dysplasia or deathPediatric Research.  78:498-504. 2015
    2015 The role of genetic variants in CRP in radiographic severity in African Americans with early and established rheumatoid arthritisGenes and Immunity.  16:446-451. 2015
    2015 Effects of the dietary ω3:ω6 fatty acid ratio on body fat and inflammation in zebrafish (Danio rerio)Comparative Medicine (Memphis).  65:289-294. 2015
    2015 C-reactive protein directly suppresses Th1 cell differentiation and alleviates experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitisJournal of Immunology.  194:5243-5252. 2015
    2015 Hepatic but not CNS-expressed human C-reactive protein inhibits experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis in transgenic miceAutoimmune Diseases.  2015. 2015
    2014 Complement C3 activation in cyst fluid and urine from autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease patientsJournal of Internal Medicine.  276:539-540. 2014
    2014 C-reactive protein induces expression of tissue factor and plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 and promotes fibrin accumulation in vein graftsJournal of Thrombosis and Haemostasis.  12:1667-1677. 2014
    2014 Human neutrophil flow chamber adhesion assayJournal of Visualized Experiments2014
    2014 Associations between abnormal rod-mediated dark adaptation and health and functioning in older adults with normal macular healthInvestigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science.  55:4776-4789. 2014
    2014 C-reactive protein promotes acute kidney injury by impairing G1/S-dependent tubular epithelium cell regenerationClinical Science.  126:645-659. 2014
    2014 C-reactive protein and arteriosclerosisMediators of Inflammation.  2014. 2014
    2014 Deletion of C-reactive protein ameliorates experimental cerebral malaria?Transactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.  108:591-593. 2014
    2014 Estrogen effects on vascular inflammation are age dependent: Role of estrogen receptorsArteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology.  34:1477-1485. 2014
    2014 Inhibiting C-reactive protein for the treatment of cardiovascular disease: Promising evidence from rodent modelsMediators of Inflammation.  2014. 2014
    2013 Multiple lupus-associated ITGAM variants alter mac-1 functions on neutrophilsArthritis and Rheumatism.  65:2907-2916. 2013
    2013 C-reactive protein exacerbates renal ischemia-reperfusion injuryAmerican Journal of Physiology: Renal Physiology.  304:1358-1365. 2013
    2012 Associations of C-reactive protein to indices of vascular health and the influence of serum 25(OH)D status in healthy adultsJournal of Nutrition and Metabolism.  2012. 2012
    2012 Pneumococcal surface protein A inhibits complement deposition on the pneumococcal surface by competing with the binding of C-reactive protein to cell-surface phosphocholineJournal of Immunology.  189:5327-5335. 2012
    2012 A selective inhibitor of human C-reactive protein translation is efficacious in vitro and in C-reactive protein transgenic mice and humansMolecular Therapy : Nucleic Acids.  1. 2012
    2012 Kidney injury accelerates cystogenesis via pathways modulated by heme oxygenase and complementJournal of the American Society of Nephrology.  23:1161-1171. 2012
    2011 Biomarkers of inflammation and hemostasis associated with left ventricular mass: The multiethnic study of atherosclerosis (MESA)International Journal of Molecular Epidemiology and Genetics.  2:391-400. 2011
    2011 Inhibition of Experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis in human C-reactive protein transgenic mice is FcγRIIB dependentAutoimmune Diseases.  1. 2011
    2011 An about-face for C-reactive protein?Clinical Chemistry (Washington, DC): international journal of molecular diagnostics and laboratory medicine.  57:1351-1352. 2011
    2011 C-reactive protein promotes diabetic kidney disease in a mouse model of type 1 diabetesDiabetologia.  54:2713-2723. 2011
    2011 Collagen-induced arthritis is exacerbated in C-reactive protein-deficient miceArthritis and Rheumatism.  63:2641-2650. 2011
    2011 C-reactive protein promotes acute renal inflammation and fibrosis in unilateral ureteral obstructive nephropathy in miceLaboratory Investigation.  91:837-851. 2011
    2010 Complement receptor 1 expression on mouse erythrocytes mediates clearance of Streptococcus pneumoniae by immune adherenceInfection and Immunity.  78:3129-3135. 2010
    2010 Response to c-reactive protein and cardiovascular disease: Differences between humans and miceHypertension.  56. 2010
    2010 C-reactive protein-mediated vascular injury requires complementArteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology.  30:1189-1195. 2010
    2010 C-reactive protein promotes cardiac fibrosis and inflammation in angiotensin II-induced hypertensive cardiac diseaseHypertension.  55:953-960. 2010
    2009 The role of C-reactive protein polymorphisms in inflammation and cardiovascular riskCurrent Atherosclerosis Reports.  11:124-130. 2009
    2009 Antibody to the type 3 capsule facilitates immune adherence of pneumococci to erythrocytes and augments their transfer to macrophagesInfection and Immunity.  77:464-471. 2009
    2008 Preferential use of DH reading frame 2 alters B cell development and antigen-specific antibody productionJournal of Immunology.  181:8409-8415. 2008
    2008 Impaired endothelial function in C-reactive protein overexpressing miceAtherosclerosis.  201:318-325. 2008
    2008 Neointimal formation is reduced after arterial injury in human crp transgenic miceAtherosclerosis.  201:85-91. 2008
    2008 Deletion of both ICAM-1 and C3 enhances severity of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis compared to C3-deficient miceNeuroscience Letters.  442:158-160. 2008
    2008 Immune opsonins modulate BLyS/BAFF release in a receptor-specific fashionJournal of Immunology.  181:1012-1018. 2008
    2008 Exaggerated neointima formation in human C-reactive protein transgenic mice is IgG Fc receptor type I (FcγRI)-dependentAmerican Journal of Pathology.  172:22-30. 2008
    2008 Overexpression of innate immune response genes in a model of recessive polycystic kidney diseaseKidney International.  73:63-76. 2008
    2008 Response to 'Overexpression of complement-component genes in Han:SPRD rats a model of polycystic kidney disease'Kidney International.  73:1325. 2008
    2007 PspA and PspC minimize immune adherence and transfer of pneumococci from erythrocytes to macrophages through their effects on complement activationInfection and Immunity.  75:5877-5885. 2007
    2007 C-Reactive Protein Gene Polymorphisms, C-Reactive Protein Blood Levels, and Cardiovascular Disease RiskJournal of the American College of Cardiology.  50:1115-1122. 2007
    2007 Complement in experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis revisited: C3 is required for development of maximal diseaseMolecular Immunology.  44:3132-3136. 2007
    2007 C-reactive protein polymorphism and Crohn's disease [1]Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics.  25:519. 2007
    2006 Complement and demyelinating disease: No MAC needed?Brain Research Reviews.  52:58-68. 2006
    2006 Experimental autoimmune uveitis in the C57BL/6 mouseExperimental Eye Research.  83:229-230. 2006
    2006 Complement in BuB/BnJ mice revisited: Serum C3 levels and complement opsonic activity are not elevatedMolecular Immunology.  43:1722-1725. 2006
    2006 Induction of leptin resistance through direct interaction of C-reactive protein with leptinNature Medicine.  12:425-432. 2006
    2006 Genetic deficiency of C3 as well as CNS-targeted expression of the complement inhibitor sCrry ameliorates experimental autoimmune uveoretinitisExperimental Eye Research.  82:389-394. 2006
    2006 Anti-atherosclerotic effect of amlodipine, alone and in combination with atorvastatin, in APOE*3-Leiden/hCRP transgenic miceJournal of Cardiovascular Pharmacology.  47:89-95. 2006
    2005 Requirement of the Fc receptor common γ-chain for γδ T cell-mediated promotion of murine experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitisEuropean Journal of Immunology.  35:3487-3492. 2005
    2005 C3a expressed in the central nervous system protects against LPS-induced shockNeuroscience Letters.  387:68-71. 2005
    2005 Estrogen treatment abrogates neointima formation in human C-reactive protein transgenic miceArteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology.  25:2094-2099. 2005
    2005 No effect of C-reactive protein on early atherosclerosis development in apolipoprotein E*3-Leiden/human C-reactive protein transgenic miceArteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology.  25:1635-1640. 2005
    2005 Systemic lupus erythematosus in a multiethnic US Cohort (LUMINA). XXX: Association between C-reactive protein (CRP) gene polymorphisms and vascular eventsRheumatology.  44:864-868. 2005
    2005 Single-nucleotide polymorphisms in the C-reactive protein (CRP) gene promoter that affect transcription factor binding, alter transcriptional activity, and associate with differences in baseline serum CRP levelJournal of Molecular Medicine.  83:440-447. 2005
    2005 Complement as a biomarker in multiple sclerosisJournal of Neuropathology and Experimental Neurology.  64:741. 2005
    2005 Effect of low dose atorvastatin versus diet-induced cholesterol lowering on atherosclerotic lesion progression and inflammation in apolipoprotein E*3-Leiden transgenic miceArteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology.  25:161-167. 2005
    2005 Murine complement C4 is not required for experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitisGlia.  49:158-160. 2005
    2004 The virulence function of Streptococcus pneumoniae surface protein A involves inhibition of complement activation and impairment of complement receptor-mediated protectionJournal of Immunology.  173:7506-7512. 2004
    2004 Bioluminescence imaging reveals a significant role for complement in liver transduction following intravenous delivery of adenovirusGene Therapy (Basingstoke).  11:1482-1486. 2004
    2004 Control of spontaneous B lymphocyte autoimmunity with adenovirus-encoded soluble TACIArthritis and Rheumatism.  50:1884-1896. 2004
    2004 Evidence for anti-inflammatory activity of statins and PPARα activators in human C-reactive protein transgenic mice in vivo and in cultured human hepatocytes in vitroBlood.  103:4188-4194. 2004
    2004 Role for antibodies in heterosubtypic immunity: The link between innate and adaptive immunityInternational Congress Series.  1263:130-134. 2004
    2004 Fc Receptors and the Common γ-Chain in Experimental Autoimmune EncephalomyelitisJournal of Neuroscience Research.  75:597-602. 2004
    2004 C-Reactive Protein Accelerates the Progression of Atherosclerosis in Apolipoprotein E-Deficient MiceCirculation.  109:647-655. 2004
    2004 Delayed onset of renal disease in mice expressing a human C-reactive protein transgene: Comment on the article by Szalai et al [4] (multiple letters)Arthritis and Rheumatism.  50:679-680. 2004
    2004 Effects of PspA and Antibodies to PspA on Activation and Deposition of Complement on the Pneumococcal SurfaceInfection and Immunity.  72:114-122. 2004
    2003 Increased thrombosis after arterial injury in human C-reactive protein-transgenic miceCirculation.  108:512-515. 2003
    2003 FcγRs modulate cytotoxicity of anti-Fas antibodies: Implications for agonistic antibody-based therapeuticsJournal of Immunology.  171:562-568. 2003
    2003 Delayed lupus onset in (NZB × NZW)F1 mice expressing a human C-reactive protein transgeneArthritis and Rheumatism.  48:1602-1611. 2003
    2003 Both family 1 and family 2 PspA proteins can inhibit complement deposition and confer virulence to a capsular serotype 3 strain of Streptococcus pneumoniaeInfection and Immunity.  71:75-85. 2003
    2002 Varied biologic functions of C-reactive protein: Lessons learned from transgenic miceImmunologic Research.  26:279-287. 2002
    2002 Experimental allergic encephalomyelitis is inhibited in transgenic mice expressing human C-reactive proteinJournal of Immunology.  168:5792-5797. 2002
    2002 The antimicrobial activity of C-reactive proteinMicrobes and Infection: a journal on infectious agents and host defenses.  4:201-205. 2002
    2002 Association between baseline levels of C-reactive protein (CRP) and a dinucleotide repeat polymorphism in the intron of the CRP geneGenes and Immunity.  3:14-19. 2002
    2000 Attenuation of experimental autoimmune demyelination in complement-deficient miceJournal of Immunology.  165:5867-5873. 2000
    2000 Complement-dependent acute-phase expression of C-reactive protein and serum amyloid P-componentJournal of Immunology.  165:1030-1035. 2000
    2000 Human C-reactive protein is protective against fatal Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium infection in transgenic miceInfection and Immunity.  68:5652-5656. 2000
    2000 The arthus reaction in rodents: Species-specific requirement of complementJournal of Immunology.  164:463-468. 2000
    1999 C-reactive protein: A physiological activator of interleukin 6 receptor sheddingJournal of Experimental Medicine.  189:599-604. 1999
    1999 Pneumococcal surface protein A inhibits complement activation by Streptococcus pneumoniaeInfection and Immunity.  67:4720-4724. 1999
    1999 Tumor necrosis factor alpha receptor I is important for survival from Streptococcus pneumoniae infectionsInfection and Immunity.  67:595-601. 1999
    1998 Testosterone and IL-6 requirements for human C-reactive protein gene expression in transgenic miceJournal of Immunology.  160:5294-5299. 1998
    1997 C-reactive protein. Structural biology, gene expression, and host defense functionImmunologic Research.  16:127-136. 1997
    1997 PspA and PspC: Their potential for use as pneumococcal vaccinesMicrobial Drug Resistance: mechanism, epidemiology, and disease.  3:401-408. 1997
    1997 Serum anti-LPS antibody production by rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) in response to the administration of free and liposomally-incorporated LPS from Aeromonas salmonicidaFish and Shellfish Immunology.  7:387-401. 1997
    1996 Complement-dependence of c-reactive protein (crp)-mediated protection of mice from streptococcus pneumoniaeThe FASEB Journal.  10. 1996
    1996 An Alternative Procedure for Isolation of Rainbox Trout, Oncorhynchus mykiss, Serum ImmunoglobulinJournal of Applied Aquaculture.  5:33-45. 1996
    1996 Role of complement in C-reactive-protein-mediated protection of mice from Streptococcus pneumoniaeInfection and Immunity.  64:4850-4853. 1996
    1995 Human C-reactive protein is protective against fatal Streptococcus pneumoniae infection in transgenic miceJournal of Immunology.  155:2557-2563. 1995
    1994 Changes in serum concentrations of channel catfish (Ictalurus punctatus Rafinesque) phosphorylcholine-reactive protein (PRP) in response to inflammatory agents, low temperature-shock and infection by the fungus Saprolegnia spFish and Shellfish Immunology.  4:323-336. 1994
    1994 Uptake and biodistribution of free and liposomally incorporated lipopolysaccharide of aeromonas salmonicida administered via different routes to rainbow trout: (oncorhynchus mykiss)Journal of Liposome Research.  4:1029-1048. 1994
    1993 Environmental factors affecting outbreaks of winter saprolegniosis in channel catfish, Ictalurus punctatus (Rafinesque)Journal of Fish Diseases.  16:541-549. 1993
    1992 Chelation affects the conformation, lability and aggregation of channel catfish (Ictalurus punctatus) phosphorylcholine-reactive protein (PRP)Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology - B: Comparative Biochemistry.  102:545-550. 1992
    1992 Isolation of an acute-phase phosphorylcholine-reactive pentraxin from channel catfish (Ictalurus punctatus)Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology - B: Comparative Biochemistry.  102:535-543. 1992
    1992 Use of confidence ellipses to detect effects of parasites on the growth of yellow perch, Perca flavescensJournal of Parasitology.  78:64-69. 1992
    1992 Winter saprolegniosis in channel catfishDiseases of Aquatic Organisms.  13:155-164. 1992
    1991 Channel catfish CRP: Ca++ induces resistance to denaturation and promotes aggregationDevelopmental and Comparative Immunology.  15. 1991
    1991 Evaluation of gill nets, fyke nets, and mark-recapture methods to estimate the number of Hirudinea and Crustacea on fishJournal of Parasitology.  77:914-922. 1991
    1991 Phylogeny of lymphocyte heterogeneity: Evidence for tsuppressor cells in the channel catfishDevelopmental and Comparative Immunology.  15. 1991
    1991 Role of predation and parasitism in growth and mortality of yellow perch in dauphin lake, manitobaTransactions of the American Fisheries Society.  120:739-751. 1991
    1990 Proteocephalus ambloplitis and Contracaecum sp. from largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides) stocked into boundary reservoir, SaskatchewanJournal of Parasitology.  76:598-601. 1990
    1990 Genetic and morphological variability in a population of Diphyllobothrium dendriticum (Nitzsch, 1824)Systematic Parasitology.  16:99-105. 1990
    1989 Changes in numbers and growth of Ligula intestinalis in the spottail shiner (Notropis hudsonius), and their roles in transmissionJournal of Parasitology.  75:571-576. 1989
    1989 Differences in numbers and inequalities in mass and fecundity during the egg-producing period for raphidascaris acus (nematoda: Anisakidae)Parasitology (Cambridge).  98:489-495. 1989
    1988 Helminths of stocked rainbow trout (Salmo gairdneri) with special reference to Clinostomum complanatum.Journal of Wildlife Diseases.  24:456-460. 1988
    1987 Intestinal pathology and site specificity of the acanthocephalan Neoechinorhynchus carpiodi Dechtiar, 1968, in quillback, Carpiodes cyprinus (Lesueur).Journal of Parasitology.  73:467-475. 1987
    1987 Parasites of quillback, Carpiodes cyprinus (LeSueur), from Dauphin Lake, Manitoba, Canada.Journal of Parasitology.  73:446-447. 1987


    Year Title Altmetric
    2009 C-reactive protei and cardiovascular disease: Lessons learned from studying genetically engineered mice.  83-116. 2009

    Research Overview

  • To understand the contribution of C-reactive protein (CRP) to the maintenance of health and the propagation of disease: Employing a multi-faceted and translational approach that entails studies of CRP biology in transgenic and knockout mice, bolstered by studies with human cells and human DNA, my research is aimed at revealing the causal pathways that might explain CRP’s genetic and phenotypic associations with health and disease. Among the diseases of past interest in my research laboratory are systemic lupus erythematosus, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, atherosclerosis, arterio-venous fistula failure, neointima generation, thrombosis, acute kidney injury, and a variety of infectious diseases. Current projects are centered on understanding the pathogenesis of systemic lupus erythematosus and acute kidney injury. Our efforts have contributed to the development and successful clinical testing of a novel CRP lowering drug. Ligand-bound CRP activates the complement system and binds Fc receptors, therefore we also routinely study these two effector pathways. Currently we are dissecting the contribution of CRP to tonic suppression of T cell mediated immunity in breast cancer, a process that involves CRP-mediated regulation of the kinase GSK3 beta and myeloid derived suppressor cells
  • Investigator On

  • Complement and Dry Eye Disease Associated with Primary Sjogren's Syndrome  awarded by National Eye Institute/NIH/DHHS
  • INvestigations In Gout, Hyperuricemia, and ComorbidiTies (INSIGHT) Center of Research Translation (CORT)  awarded by National Institute of Arthritis & Musculoskeletal & Skin Diseases/NIH/DHHS
  • INvestigations In Gout, Hyperuricemia, and ComorbidiTies (INSIGHT) Center of Research Translation (CORT) - Project 4: Protecting Renal Function with Urate-Lowering Drugs  awarded by National Institute of Arthritis & Musculoskeletal & Skin Diseases/NIH/DHHS
  • Inflammatory, Cholesterol and Genetic Characteristics in Older Adults in Normal Retinal Health as Potential Biomarkers for the Incident Development of Early Age-Related Maculopathy  awarded by EyeSight Foundation of Alabama ^
  • Interdisciplinary Training In Kidney-Related Research  awarded by National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases/NIH/DHHS
  • Interdisciplinary Training in Kidney-Related Research  awarded by National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases/NIH/DHHS
  • Kidney Undergraduate Research Experience (KURE)  awarded by National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases/NIH/DHHS
  • Mechanisms of C3 Effects in ARPKD Pathogenesis  awarded by National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases/NIH/DHHS
  • PRedoctoral Interdisciplinary Training in Renal Physiology and MEdIcIne (PRIME)  awarded by National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases/NIH/DHHS
  • Private Grant  awarded by DAIICHI SANKYO COMPANY LTD
  • Education And Training

  • Doctor of Philosophy Level Degree in Zoology / Animal Biology, 1990
  • Full Name

  • Alexander Szalai