Increased long-term expression of pentraxin 3 in irradiated human arteries and veins compared to internal controls from free tissue transfers

Tinna Christersdottir Björklund, Sarah Jayne Reilly, Caroline Gahm, Barbara Bottazzi, Alberto Mantovani, Per Tornvall, Martin Halle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Clinical studies have shown that radiotherapy increases the risk of cardiovascular disease at irradiated sites years after exposure. However, there is a lack of biological explanations in humans. We therefore examined human blood vessels exposed to radiotherapy and studied C-reactive protein (CRP) and pentraxin 3 (PTX3), a new marker for adverse cardiovascular outcome dependent on TNF- alpha (TNFα) or interleukin-1beta (IL-1β) expression.Methods: Pairs of irradiated and non-irradiated human conduit arteries and veins were harvested from the same patient during autologous free tissue transfer for cancer-reconstruction at a median time of 48 weeks after radiotherapy. Differential gene expression was studied using qRT-PCR, confirmed by immunohistochemistry and cellular origins determined by immunofluorescence.Results: Gene expression in irradiated arteries compared to non-irradiated showed a consistent up-regulation of PTX3 in all patients and in a majority of veins (p <0.001). Both TNFα and IL-1β were increased in irradiated compared to non-irradiated arteries (p <0.01) and IL-1β correlated to the PTX3 expression (p = 0.017). Immunohistochemical and immunofluorescence staining confirmed an increased expression of PTX3 in endothelial cells, macrophages and smooth muscle cells.Conclusions: The sustained expression of PTX3 in arteries and veins tie biological evidence in humans to clinical studies and encourage further exploration of innate immunity in the pathogenesis of a radiation-induced vasculopathy.

Original languageEnglish
Article number223
JournalJournal of Translational Medicine
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Sept 18 2013


  • Atherosclerosis
  • Blood vessels
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • CRP
  • Gene expression
  • Human
  • PTX3
  • Radiotherapy
  • Stroke and neck

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Medicine(all)


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