Chorionic gonadotropin up-regulates long pentraxin 3 expression in myeloid cells
Pentraxin 3 (PTX3) is an acute-phase response protein that initiates innate immunity against diverse microorganisms. It is produced in response to proinflammatory stimuli by many cell types including myeloid cells. Increased serum levels of PTX3 are found in pregnancy, a condition characterized by increased serum levels of the pregnancy hormone human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG). As myeloid cells bear the receptor for hCG, we hypothesized that hCG can promote innate immunity by affecting the PTX3 production by myeloid cells. In this paper, we demonstrate that hCG increases PTX3 expression by human monocytes, mouse dendritic cells, and mouse macrophages in vitro. This increased PTX3 expression by hCG is mediated via the protein kinase A signaling pathway. hCG injection in mice also increases the PTX3 serum levels. This serum PTX3 is produced mainly by blood monocytes, which from pregnant women, express more PTX3 compared with nonpregnant controls. The hCG-induced hormones progesterone and estrogen also increase the PTX3 production by human monocytes. In conclusion, hCG increases innate immunity via induction of PTX3 in myeloid cells.