Pentraxins in innate immunity: Lessons from PTX3

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The innate immune system constitutes the first line of defence against microorganisms and plays a primordial role in the activation and regulation of adaptive immunity. The innate immune system is composed of a cellular arm and a humoral arm. Components of the humoral arm include members of the complement cascade and soluble pattern recognition molecules (PRMs). These fluid-phase PRMs represent the functional ancestors of antibodies and play a crucial role in the discrimination between self, non-self and modified-self. Moreover, evidence has been presented that these soluble PRMs participate in the regulation of inflammatory responses and interact with the cellular arm of the innate immune system. Pentraxins consist of a set of multimeric soluble proteins and represent the prototypic components of humoral innate immunity. Based on the primary structure of the protomer, pentraxins are divided into two groups: short pentraxins and long pentraxins. The short pentraxins C-reactive protein and serum amyloid P-component are produced by the liver and represent the main acute phase proteins in human and mouse, respectively. The long pentraxin PTX3 is produced by innate immunity cells (e.g. PMN, macrophages, dendritic cells), interacts with several ligands and plays an essential role in innate immunity, tuning inflammation and matrix deposition. PTX3 provides a paradigm for the mode of action of humoral innate immunity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)237-249
Number of pages13
JournalCell & Tissue Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2011


  • Inflammation
  • Innate immunity
  • Pattern recognition
  • Pentraxins
  • PTX3

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology
  • Histology
  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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