A systemic acute phase reaction may develop during infection and inflammation, due to the action of peripherally liberated proinflammatory cytokines. Hepatic metabolism changes, and negative and positive acute phase proteins (APPs) can be measured in the blood: the APPs therefore represent appropriate analytes to assess health. White they are non-specific markers, their levels change with biological effects and this can be used to assess nutritional. deficits and reactive processes, especially when positive and negative acute phase variables are combined in an index. Unfortunately, at present, no comprehensive, easy-to-use and cheap system is available to assess various acute phase proteins in serum or blood samples. Protein micro-array technology may satisfy this need; it will permit simultaneous analysis of numerous analytes in the same small volume sample and enable integration of information derived from systemic reactivity and nutrition with disease-specific variables. Applying such technology may help to address health problems in many countries. (C) 2006 Elsevier GmbH. All rights reserved.