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Nephrol Dial Transplant. 2013 Apr;28(4):803-11. doi: 10.1093/ndt/gfs448. Epub 2012 Dec 14.

Pentraxins in nephrology: C-reactive protein, serum amyloid P and pentraxin-3.

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  • 1Medizinische Klinik und Poliklinik IV, Campus Innenstadt, University of Munich-LMU, Ziemssenstr 1 D-80336, Munich, Germany.


Every clinician uses C-reactive protein (CRP) levels as a biomarker for systemic inflammation in acute disorders. Nephrologists also consider CRP levels as a predictor for overall mortality in patients with chronic kidney disease or end-stage renal disease. But what is the biological function of CRP? CRP is a member of the family of pentraxins, which are small pentameric innate immunity effector proteins. Pentraxins are absent or weakly expressed during homeostasis. However, the pro-inflammatory cytokines interleukin (IL)-1, IL-6 and tumour necrosis factor induce CRP and serum amyloid P (SAP) in hepatocytes, whereas the long pentraxins, such as pentraxin (PTX)-3, are produced in peripheral tissues and monocytic phagocytes. Pentraxins opsonize pathogens or other particles such as dead cells, for their phagocytic clearance or induce pathogen killing in extracellular compartments. In this review, we discuss the immunoregulatory properties of the different members of the pentraxin family. We discuss the evolving evidence demonstrating their roles in acute and chronic forms of kidney disease and the significance of SAP and PTX3 as additional biomarkers of innate immune activation and systemic inflammation.

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