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 hyaluronan-rich extracellular matrix. Thus, the prototypic long pentraxin PTX3 is a multifunctional soluble pattern recognition receptor acting as a non-redundant component of the humoral arm of innate immunity and involved in tuning inflammation, in matrix deposition and female fertility.
- Vascular pathology
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