Inflammatory long pentraxin 3 is associated with leukocyte telomere length in night-shift workers

Sofia Pavanello, Mariarita Stendardo, Giuseppe Mastrangelo, Melissa Bonci, Barbara Bottazzi, Manuela Campisi, Marco Nardini, Roberto Leone, Alberto Mantovani, Piera Boschetto

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Aging is an emerging worldwide threat to public health, even in the workplace, as it links with risk of illness and death. Bewildered inflammatory responses and stressful conditions associate with age-related disorders. Additionally, circadian rhythm disruption, a critical health issue in night-shift workers, correlates with premature aging. We investigated the hypothesis of a link between altered inflammatory response, detected by plasmatic long pentraxin 3 (PTX3), and biological aging, measured by leukocyte telomere length (LTL), attrition, and possibly induced by night-shift work. Within the framework of a cross-sectional study, such possible relationships were appraised by simultaneous equation model (SEM) technique among day and night-shift hospital workers. PTX3 levels, modulated by several aging conditions [i.e., body mass index (BMI) (beta = -0.22; p = 0.022), C-reactive protein (CRP) (beta = -0.07; p = 0.000), and cardiovascular diseases with hypertension included (CVD) (beta = -0.12; p = 0.000)], positively associate with LTL (coefficient = 0.15; p = 0.033). LTL, in turn is reduced by CVD (beta = -0.15; p = 0.000), binge drinking (beta = -0.10; p = 0.004), and CRP (beta = -0.05; p = 0.026). On the other hand, night-shift work, found to be remarkably free from aging risk factors [i.e., age (beta = -0.13; p = 0.017), BMI (beta = -0.17; p = 0.030), CVD (beta = -0.14; p = 0.000), and binge drinking (beta = -0.13; p = 0.000)], does associate almost significantly with reversed PTX3 (coefficient = -0.09; p = 0.089) and even with CRP (beta = 0.17; p = 0.000). In conclusion, the SEM analysis indicates that PTX3 is positively linked to LTL. The finding suggests a possible new role of this long pentraxin that, by orchestrating an efficient governance of inflammatory processes, may protect telomere from attrition, ensuring therefore the genetic stability of cells. The higher CRP levels among night-shift workers suggest that night-shift work is associated with increased systemic inflammation. This would make nocturnal workers more susceptible to premature aging.

Original languageEnglish
Article number516
JournalFrontiers in Immunology
Issue numberMAY
Publication statusPublished - May 9 2017


  • Aging
  • Circadian rhythm
  • Genetic instability
  • Inflammation
  • Night-shift work
  • Pentraxin 3
  • Premature
  • Telomere

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology

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