BACKGROUND: The soluble pattern-recognition receptor known as long pentraxin 3 (PTX3) has a nonredundant role in antifungal immunity. The contribution of single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in PTX3 to the development of invasive aspergillosis is unknown. METHODS: We screened an initial cohort of 268 patients undergoing hematopoietic stem-cell transplantation (HSCT) and their donors for PTX3 SNPs modifying the risk of invasive aspergillosis. The analysis was also performed in a multicenter study involving 107 patients with invasive aspergillosis and 223 matched controls. The functional consequences of PTX3 SNPs were investigated in vitro and in lung specimens from transplant recipients. RESULTS: Receipt of a transplant from a donor with a homozygous haplotype (h2/h2) in PTX3 was associated with an increased risk of infection, in both the discovery study (cumulative incidence, 37% vs. 15%; adjusted hazard ratio, 3.08; P = 0.003) and the confirmation study (adjusted odds ratio, 2.78; P = 0.03), as well as with defective expression of PTX3. Functionally, PTX3 deficiency in h2/h2 neutrophils, presumably due to messenger RNA instability, led to impaired phagocytosis and clearance of the fungus. CONCLUSIONS: Genetic deficiency of PTX3 affects the antifungal capacity of neutrophils and may contribute to the risk of invasive aspergillosis in patients treated with HSCT.
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