Pentraxin 3 (PTX3) is suggested to play important roles in the innate resistance against pathogens, regulation of inflammatory reactions, and clearance of apoptotic cells. PTX3 is the first long pentraxin identified. Long pentraxin shares a C-terminal pentraxin domain with the classical short pentraxin (C-reactive protein, serum amyloid P), but holds an unrelated N-terminal domain that is unique to the long pentraxin. While the short pentraxin is produced only in the liver, PTX3 is made by diverse types of cells, prominently endothelial cells and macrophage, in response to inflammatory signals. Unlike the short pentraxin, the expression of PTX3 in multiple types of tissue cells implies a mechanism for local amplification of innate resistance at the site of infection and inflammation. PTX3 plasma levels are very low in normal subjects but are rapidly increased by inflammatory conditions resulting from a wide range of diseased states, from infection to autoimmune and degenerative disorders. Critically ill patients show elevated circulating levels of PTX3 which are determined by the severity of the disease. Clinical evidence has demonstrated that the elevated PTX3 levels might be a useful early and sensitive marker for severely ill patients. Further studies will definitely be needed to deepen our understanding of PTX3.