Research Topic

The Role of Pentraxins: From Inflammation, Tissue Repair and Immunity to Biomarkers

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Pentraxins are highly conserved molecules characterized by a unique multimeric structure. Based on the primary sequence of the composing protomers, two subfamilies are described: Short and Long Pentraxins. C-reactive protein (CRP) and serum amyloid P component (SAP) are prototypic short pentraxins, whereas ...

Pentraxins are highly conserved molecules characterized by a unique multimeric structure. Based on the primary sequence of the composing protomers, two subfamilies are described: Short and Long Pentraxins. C-reactive protein (CRP) and serum amyloid P component (SAP) are prototypic short pentraxins, whereas pentraxin 3 (PTX3) is the prototype of the long pentraxin subfamily. CRP was the first identified member of the pentraxin family and was described in the 1930s. CRP is the most important acute phase protein in man, while the cognate molecule, SAP, exerts a corresponding role in mice. In 1992, PTX3 was identified as an early gene expressed in macrophages and endothelial cells upon exposure to pro-inflammatory cytokines and Toll-like receptor (TLR) antagonists. Other long pentraxins have been subsequently identified including neuronal pentraxin 1 (NP1) and 2 (NP2) and the neuronal pentraxin receptor (NPR).

All of the members of the pentraxin family are characterized by a common carboxy-terminal pentraxin-like domain that, in long pentraxins, is coupled to a long, unrelated amino-terminal region. CRP, SAP and PTX3 are modulated by inflammatory signals and act as pattern-recognition molecules (PRMs). Each molecule is characterized by peculiar biochemical and biological features, including systemic (CRP and SAP) versus local (PTX3) production, oligomerization state and interactome.

Inflammation is an essential and tightly regulated process of self-protection against pathogens and tissue damage. CRP, SAP and PTX3 actively contribute to regulate inflammation and prevent exaggerated tissue damage due to their capacity to (i) modulate the complement cascade; (ii) promote agglutination and neutralization and (iii) facilitate recognition via cellular receptors. In addition, CRP and PTX3 are sensitive markers of infections and diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, with broad clinical utility for monitoring and differential diagnosis and for correlating with the severity of disease. PTX3 in particular, rapidly induced by primary pro-inflammatory cytokines by a variety of cell types, may reflect the local activation of innate immunity and inflammation. This is in contrast to CRP which is systemically produced by the liver in response to IL-6.

This Research Topic will provide a comprehensive overview of the field of Pentraxins and their role in the regulation of inflammatory responses. We welcome the submission of Review, Mini-Review, Original Research, Perspective, Commentary and Opinion articles that cover, but are not limited to, the following topics:

1. Main biochemical characteristics of CRP, SAP and PTX3 as prototypes of short and long pentraxin families.
2. Biological properties of neuronal pentraxins.
3. Mechanisms by which long and short pentraxins regulate inflammation, autoimmunity and tissue repair.
4. Regulation of complement activation by pentraxins.
5. Pentraxins in anti-microbial resistance.
6. Role of pentraxins in cancer.
7. Diagnostic relevance of pentraxins in inflammatory disorders.

We acknowledge the initiation and support of this Research Topic by the International Union of Immunological Societies (IUIS). We hereby state publicly that the IUIS has had no editorial input in articles included in this Research Topic, thus ensuring that all aspects of this Research Topic are evaluated objectively, unbiased by any specific policy or opinion of the IUIS.


Keywords: Pentraxins, CRP, PTX3


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