Lech, Maciej; Römmele, Christoph; Kulkarni, Onkar P.; Susanti, Heni Eka; Migliorini, Adriana; Garlanda, Cecilia; Mantovani, Alberto; Anders, Hans-Joachim (2011): Lack of the long pentraxin PTX3 promotes autoimmune lung disease but not glomerulonephritis in murine systemic lupus erythematosus.
In: PLOS ONE 6(5), e20118




The long pentraxin PTX3 has multiple roles in innate immunity. For example, PTX3 regulates C1q binding to pathogens and dead cells and regulates their uptake by phagocytes. It also inhibits P-selectin-mediated recruitment of leukocytes. Both of these mechanisms are known to be involved in autoimmunity and autoimmune tissue injury, e.g. in systemic lupus erythematosus, but a contribution of PTX3 is hypothetical. To evaluate a potential immunoregulatory role of PTX3 in autoimmunity we crossed Ptx3-deficient mice with Fas-deficient (lpr) C57BL/6 (B6) mice with mild lupus-like autoimmunity. PTX3 was found to be increasingly expressed in kidneys and lungs of B6lpr along disease progression. Lack of PTX3 impaired the phagocytic uptake of apoptotic T cells into peritoneal macrophages and selectively expanded CD4/CD8 double negative T cells while other immune cell subsets and lupus autoantibody production remained unaffected. Lack of PTX3 also aggravated autoimmune lung disease, i.e. peribronchial and perivascular CD3+ T cell and macrophage infiltrates of B6lpr mice. In contrast, histomorphological and functional parameters of lupus nephritis remained unaffected by the Ptx3 genotype. Together, PTX3 specifically suppresses autoimmune lung disease that is associated with systemic lupus erythematosus. Vice versa, loss-of-function mutations in the Ptx3 gene might represent a genetic risk factor for pulmonary (but not renal) manifestations of systemic lupus or other autoimmune diseases.