DataSheet_1_Circulating and Synovial Pentraxin-3 (PTX3) Expression Levels Correlate With Rheumatoid Arthritis Severity and Tissue Infiltration Indepen.docx (1.98 MB)
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DataSheet_1_Circulating and Synovial Pentraxin-3 (PTX3) Expression Levels Correlate With Rheumatoid Arthritis Severity and Tissue Infiltration Independently of Conventional Treatments Response.docx

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posted on 25.06.2021, 04:55 by Marie-Astrid Boutet, Alessandra Nerviani, Gloria Lliso-Ribera, Roberto Leone, Marina Sironi, Rebecca Hands, Felice Rivellese, Annalisa Del Prete, Katriona Goldmann, Myles J. Lewis, Alberto Mantovani, Barbara Bottazzi, Costantino Pitzalis

To determine the relationship between PTX3 systemic and synovial levels and the clinical features of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in a cohort of early, treatment naïve patients and to explore the relevance of PTX3 expression in predicting response to conventional-synthetic (cs) Disease-Modifying-Anti-Rheumatic-Drugs (DMARDs) treatment.


PTX3 expression was analyzed in 119 baseline serum samples from early naïve RA patients, 95 paired samples obtained 6-months following the initiation of cs-DMARDs treatment and 43 healthy donors. RNA-sequencing analysis and immunohistochemistry for PTX3 were performed on a subpopulation of 79 and 58 synovial samples, respectively, to assess PTX3 gene and protein expression. Immunofluorescence staining was performed to characterize PTX3 expressing cells within the synovium.


Circulating levels of PTX3 were significantly higher in early RA compared to healthy donors and correlated with disease activity at baseline and with the degree of structural damages at 12-months. Six-months after commencing cs-DMARDs, a high level of PTX3, proportional to the baseline value, was still detectable in the serum of patients, regardless of their response status. RNA-seq analysis confirmed that synovial transcript levels of PTX3 correlated with disease activity and the presence of mediators of inflammation, tissue remodeling and bone destruction at baseline. PTX3 expression in the synovium was strongly linked to the degree of immune cell infiltration, the presence of ectopic lymphoid structures and seropositivity for autoantibodies. Accordingly, PTX3 was found to be expressed by numerous synovial cell types such as plasma cells, fibroblasts, vascular and lymphatic endothelial cells, macrophages, and neutrophils. The percentage of PTX3-positive synovial cells, although significantly reduced at 6-months post-treatment as a result of global decreased cellularity, was similar in cs-DMARDs responders and non-responders.


This study demonstrates that, early in the disease and prior to treatment modification, the level of circulating PTX3 is a reliable marker of RA activity and predicts a high degree of structural damages at 12-months. In the joint, PTX3 associates with immune cell infiltration and the presence of ectopic lymphoid structures. High synovial and peripheral blood levels of PTX3 are associated with chronic inflammation characteristic of RA. Additional studies to determine the mechanistic link are required.