Recent studies have demonstrated the role of high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP) in inflammatory diseases; however, it is unclear whether this molecule has a role after severe head injury (SHI). Our aim was to evaluate the levels of hsCRP in both cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and serum from patients after SHI. The study focused on 11 patients with SHI and evaluated CSF and serum levels of hsCRP, tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) and interleukin-6 (IL-6) in a 10-day period following the head trauma. The values were compared with those from nine control patients, who had normal pressure hydrocephalus. In the CSF and serum of the patients after SHI HsCRP was found to be significantly higher, at all times, than in the controls; TNF-alpha and IL-6 levels were also higher in these patients. However, hsCRP levels did not correlate with either TNF-alpha or IL-6. TNF-alpha and IL-6 increased during the period immediately following the SHI and intrathecal levels were always higher than those of the serum. This study demonstrates for the first time that hsCRP reaches high levels in both CSF and serum in patients with SHI, and it may therefore be used as an inflammatory index. This finding suggests a need for further studies in this area, which are larger in scope than the present study. (c) 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.