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Clin Exp Med. 2009 Sep;9(3):243-8. doi: 10.1007/s10238-009-0039-z. Epub 2009 Feb 24.

Circulating pentraxin 3 levels are higher in metabolic syndrome with subclinical atherosclerosis: evidence for association with atherogenic lipid profile.

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  • 1Clinica Medica Generale, DSCMT, University of Trieste, Ospedale di Cattinara, Strada di Fiume 447, 34100 Trieste, Italy.


Metabolic syndrome is characterized by increased cardiovascular risk. Pentraxin 3 (PTX3), an acute phase protein, is involved in atherosclerosis. No information is available on PTX3 plasma concentrations in metabolic syndrome and on its associations with metabolic alterations and subclinical atherosclerosis. The aim of this study was to assess PTX3 plasma levels in metabolic syndrome patients compared to control subjects and their potential associations with anthropometric and clinical components of the syndrome as well as with carotid artery intima-media thickness (cIMT), a marker of subclinical atherosclerosis. Plasma was obtained from metabolic syndrome patients (NCEP-ATP III criteria n = 41, 20 M/21F) and by age-matched control subjects (n = 32, 16 M/16F). PTX3 was measured using sandwich ELISA and cIMT with ultrasound. Compared to those of the control subjects, plasma levels of PTX3 were higher (? * 100%, P = 0.0009) in metabolic syndrome patients. In univariate analysis, plasma PTX3 was negatively (P = 0.005) associated with high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol and positively (P = 0.046) with plasma triglycerides and with cIMT (P = 0.045) in the patients (n = 41). In multivariate analysis the direct association between PTX3 and cIMT was no longer significant after correction for HDL. None of these associations were detected in the control patients. These data demonstrate that PTX3, a novel marker of vascular disease, is higher in patients with metabolic syndrome associated with subclinical atherosclerosis. In addition, PTX3 is significantly independently correlated with low HDL cholesterol, but not with cIMT, suggesting a novel association between PTX3 and atherogenic lipid profile.

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