Pentraxins and atherosclerosis: The role of PTX3

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Pentraxins are a family of evolutionarily conserved multifunctional pattern-recognition proteins characterized by a cyclic multimeric structure. Based on the primary structure of the subunit, the pentraxins are divided into two groups: short pentraxins and long pentraxins. C-reactive protein (CRP) and serum amyloid P-component (SAP) are the two short pentraxins. The prototype protein of the long pentraxin group is pentraxin 3 (PTX3). CRP and SAP are produced primarily in the liver in response to IL-6, while PTX3 is produced by a variety of tissues and cells and in particular by innate immunity cells in response to proinflammatory signals and Toll-like receptor (TLR) engagement. PTX3 interacts with several ligands, including growth factors, extracellular matrix components and selected pathogens, playing a role in complement activation and facilitating pathogen recognition by phagocytes, acting as a predecessor of antibodies. In addition, PTX3 is essential in female fertility by acting as a nodal point for the assembly of the cumulus oophorus hyaluronanrich extracellular matrix. Here we will concisely review the general properties of PTX3 in the context of the pentraxin superfamily and discuss recent data suggesting that PTX3 plays a cardiovascular protective effect. PTX3 may represent a new marker in vascular pathology which correlates with the risk of developing vascular events.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)38-46
Number of pages9
JournalCurrent Pharmaceutical Design
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2011


  • Atherosclerosis
  • Inflammation
  • Innate immunity
  • Pentraxin
  • PTX3
  • Vascular pathology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Drug Discovery
  • Pharmacology


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