Background: Pentraxin 3 (PTX3), an acute-phase inflammation protein produced by several cell types, has long been described as a possible biomarker for age-related cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases. Although several mechanisms of action have been identified to date in the vascular and immune systems, the direct effects of PTX3 on isolated endothelial cells at morphological and metabolic levels remain unknown.
Findings: PTX3 induced cytoplasmic vacuolization and dilution of mitochondrial matrix in isolated, human endothelial cells. Moreover, metabolic assays revealed that PTX3 increases respiratory capacity in support of mitochondrial function, and partially sustains the glycolytic pathway.
Conclusions: PTX3 has, per se, a direct action on ultrastructural and bioenergetic parameters of isolated endothelial cells. This finding can be associated with our previous demonstration of a deleterious effect of PTX3 on the endothelial layer. More studies are needed to clearly demonstrate any direct correlation between these ultrastructural and bioenergetic changes with endothelial dysfunction, especially with regard to age-related cerebro- and cardio-vascular diseases.