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Annu Rev Immunol. 2010;28:157-83. doi: 10.1146/annurev-immunol-030409-101305.

An integrated view of humoral innate immunity: pentraxins as a paradigm.

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  • 1IRCCS Istituto Clinico Humanitas, Rozzano, Milano, Italy.


The innate immune system consists of a cellular and a humoral arm. Pentraxins (e.g., the short pentraxin C reactive protein and the long pentraxin PTX3) are key components of the humoral arm of innate immunity which also includes complement components, collectins, and ficolins. In response to microorganisms and tissue damage, neutrophils, macrophages, and dendritic cells are major sources of fluid-phase pattern-recognition molecules (PRMs) belonging to different molecular classes. Humoral PRMs in turn interact with and regulate cellular effectors. Effector mechanisms of the humoral innate immune system include activation and regulation of the complement cascade; agglutination and neutralization; facilitation of recognition via cellular receptors (opsonization); and regulation of inflammation. Thus, the humoral arm of innate immunity is an integrated system consisting of different molecules and sharing functional outputs with antibodies.

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