Creatine kinase (CK), also known as creatine phosphokinase (CPK) or phospho-creatine kinase (and sometimes incorrectly as creatinine kinase), is an enzyme (EC 188.8.131.52) expressed by various tissues and cell types. CK catalyses the conversion of creatine and consumes adenosine triphosphate (ATP) to create phosphocreatine (PCr) and adenosine diphosphate (ADP). This CK enzyme reaction is reversible, such that also ATP can be generated from PCr and ADP.
In tissues and cells that consume ATP rapidly, especially skeletal muscle, but also brain, photoreceptor cells of the retina, hair cells of the inner ear, spermatozoa and smooth muscle, PCr serves as an energy reservoir for the rapid buffering and regeneration of ATP in situ, as well as for intracellular energy transport by the PCr shuttle or circuit. Thus creatine kinase is an important enzyme in such tissues.
Clinically, creatine kinase is assayed in blood tests as a marker of myocardial infarction (heart attack), rhabdomyolysis (severe muscle breakdown), muscular dystrophy, the autoimmune myositides and in acute renal failure.