Pentraxin 3 (PTX3) plays cardioprotective and anti-atherogenic roles in murine models. PTX3 blood levels raise during early acute myocardial infarction (AMI). Neutrophils from healthy subjects physiologically contain PTX3 in secondary (also called specific) granules. In this study, we report that circulating neutrophils release preformed PTX3 in the early phase of AMI (within 6 h from the onset of clinical symptoms). Depletion of intracellular PTX3 correlates with increased plasma levels and with platelet-neutrophil heterotypic aggregates. Neutrophil PTX3 returns to normal values 48 h after the onset of symptoms; concentration does not vary in matched healthy controls or in patients with chronic stable angina. In vitro, recognition of activated P-selectin + platelets causes the formation of neutrophil-platelet heteroaggregates and the release of neutrophil PTX3. Purified or membrane-bound P-selectin triggers PTX3 release from resting neutrophils. Released PTX3 binds to activated platelets in vitro. Moreover, PTX3 binds to a substantial fraction of platelets from patients in the circulating blood. PTX3-bound activated platelets have a reduced ability to 1) form heterotypic aggregates with neutrophils and monocytes; 2) activate neutrophils, as evaluated assessing the upregulation of leukocyte β2 integrins; 3) aggregate with other platelets; and 4) bind to fibrinogen. Our results suggest that neutrophils early release prestored PTX3 in patients undergoing AMI. PTX3 binds to activated circulating platelets and dampens their proinflammatory and prothrombotic action, thus possibly contributing to its cardioprotective effects.
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