The yin-yang of long pentraxin PTX3 in inflammation and immunity

Immunol Lett. 2014 Sep;161(1):38-43. doi: 10.1016/j.imlet.2014.04.012. Epub 2014 May 1.


Pentraxins are a family of multimeric proteins characterized by the presence of a pentraxin signature in their C-terminus region. Based on the primary structure, pentraxins are divided into short and long pentraxin: C-reactive protein (CRP) is the prototype of the short pentraxin subfamily while pentraxin 3 (PTX3) is the prototypic long pentraxin. Despite these two molecules exert similar fundamental actions in the regulation of innate immune and inflammatory responses, several differences exist between CRP and PTX3, including gene organization, protein oligomerization and expression pattern. The pathophysiological roles of PTX3 have been investigated using genetically modified mice since PTX3 gene organization and regulation are well conserved between mouse and human. Such in vivo studies figured out that PTX3 mainly have host-protective effects, even if it could also exert negative effects under certain pathophysiologic conditions. Here we will review the general properties of CRP and PTX3, emphasizing the differences between the two molecules and the regulatory functions exerted by PTX3 in innate immunity and inflammation.

Keywords: Inflammation; Innate immunity; PTX3; Pentraxin.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • C-Reactive Protein / genetics
  • C-Reactive Protein / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Immunity* / genetics
  • Immunity, Innate / genetics
  • Inflammation / genetics
  • Inflammation / immunology*
  • Inflammation / metabolism*
  • Multigene Family
  • Serum Amyloid P-Component / genetics
  • Serum Amyloid P-Component / metabolism*


  • Serum Amyloid P-Component
  • PTX3 protein
  • C-Reactive Protein