Immune regulation of procalcitonin: a biomarker and mediator of infection

Inflamm Res. 2012 May;61(5):401-9. doi: 10.1007/s00011-012-0439-5. Epub 2012 Feb 22.


Procalcitonin (PCT) has recently emerged as a powerful biomarker for an early and accurate diagnosis of bacterial infection. Here we summarize our current understanding of the expression pathways of PCT, its potential cellular sources including immune cells, and factors inducing its secretion. Also addressed is the significance of increased blood PCT concentration, which may allow this molecule not only to act as a clinical biomarker but also as an active participant in the development and progression of infectious processes. Experimental approaches to delineate a better understanding of PCT functions, molecular pathways that modulate its expression and therapeutic opportunities to curtail its biological actions are discussed, as well.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bacterial Infections / diagnosis*
  • Bacterial Infections / etiology
  • Bacterial Infections / immunology
  • Bacterial Infections / metabolism
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Calcitonin / blood
  • Calcitonin / genetics
  • Calcitonin / physiology*
  • Calcitonin Gene-Related Peptide
  • Humans
  • Immunomodulation*
  • Protein Precursors / blood
  • Protein Precursors / genetics
  • Protein Precursors / physiology*


  • Biomarkers
  • CALCA protein, human
  • Protein Precursors
  • Calcitonin
  • Calcitonin Gene-Related Peptide