Pentraxin-3 as a Marker of Advanced Atherosclerosis Results from the Bruneck, ARMY and ARFY Studies
by Michael Knoflach, Stefan Kiechl, Alberto Mantovani, Ivan Cuccovillo, Barbara Bottazzi, Qingbo Xu, Qingzhong Xiao, Arno Gasperi, Agnes Mayr, Marlene Kehrer, Johann Willeit, Georg Wick
Pentraxins like C-reactive protein are key components of the innate immune system. Recently, pentraxin-3 (PTX3) has been proposed to be a specific marker of vascular inflammation, yet its association with atherosclerosis is still unclear.
Methods and Results
PTX3 serum levels were measured in three independent studies of 132 young men (ARMY Study), 205 young women (ARFY Study) and 562 individuals 55 to 94 years old (Bruneck Study). In contrast to C-reactive protein, PTX3 showed little relationships with classic vascular risk factors and pro-inflammatory conditions. In the population based Bruneck Study, PTX3 level was independently associated with prevalent cardiovascular diseases (multivariable odds ratio [95%CI] 3.09 [1.65–5.79]; P<0.001). Moreover, PTX3 level correlated with the severity of carotid and femoral atherosclerosis and was highest in individuals with multiple vascular territories affected. In contrast, there was no association with elevated intima-media thickness, a precursor lesion of atherosclerosis, in any of the three populations investigated.
Level of PTX3 is independently associated with atherosclerosis and manifest cardiovascular disease but not early vessel pathology. Unlike C-reactive protein, PTX3 is not a component of the classic acute phase response (systemic inflammation) but appears to be more specific for vascular inflammation.
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