Pentraxin 3 is the first detected and so far the most important protein from the recently recognized group called the
long pentraxins. The structure and function of PTX3 resembles in many aspects that of the short or classical pentraxins,
i.e. C-reactive protein and the serum amyloid P component. There are, however, several important differences
between the two groups of pentraxins that will be mentioned in more detail in the article. All of the above mentioned
pentraxins take an acitve part in the first-line defense of the host against invading pathogenic microorganisms and in
the clearance of the host’s own apoptotic cells. The latter mechanism impedes the onset of destructive autoimmune
reactions. A biologically relevant antipode of PTX3 is represented by TNFα. Physiologic course of the defense reactions
depends on a closely co-ordinated activity of both peptides. In case of an unchecked or missing activity of
either peptide, a disturbance in their mutual balance results in increased susceptibility of the host to conditionally
pathogenic fungi or in increased damage to host’s own tissues inflicted by the defense reactions. This review article
deals with the physiopathologic importace of pentraxin 3 as has been gained on the basis of the most up-to-date information.
pentraxin 3, C-reactive protein, cytokines, the complement system, apoptosis, dendritic cells,
T lymphocytes, Aspergillus fumigatus.