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Critical Reviews™ in Immunology
Fator do impacto: 1.352 FI de cinco anos: 3.347 SJR: 0.657 SNIP: 0.55 CiteScore™: 2.19

ISSN Imprimir: 1040-8401
ISSN On-line: 2162-6472

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Critical Reviews™ in Immunology

DOI: 10.1615/CritRevImmunol.v32.i4.40
pages 335-348

Immune Functions of Serum Amyloid A

Kari K. Eklund
Wihuri Research Institute, Helsinki, Finland
K. Niemi
Wihuri Research Institute, Helsinki, Finland
P. T. Kovanen
Wihuri Research Institute, Helsinki, Finland


Serum amyloid A (SAA) is a highly conserved, acute-phase protein synthesized predominantly by the liver. After secretion into the circulation, it associates with high-density lipoprotein (HDL) particles. During acute inflammation, serum SAA levels may rise up to 1000-fold, and under these conditions, SAA displaces apolipoprotein A-I from HDL, thus becoming the major apolipoprotein of circulating HDL3. SAA exhibits significant immunological activity by, for example, inducing the synthesis of several cytokines and by being chemotactic for neutrophils and mast cells. It exerts many of its immunological activities by binding and activating cell-surface receptors, including Toll-like receptor (TLR) 2 and TLR4, formyl peptide receptor-like 1 (FPRL1), class B scavenger receptor CD36, and the ATP receptor P2X7. SAA also recently has been shown to activate the inflammasome cascade, which has a key role in immune activation, thus further stressing the unique role of SAA in immunomodulation. Traditionally, SAA has been considered to have a key role in the pathogenesis of amyloid A−type amyloidosis, but we now understand that it may also participate in the pathogenesis of chronic inflammatory diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis and atherosclerosis. Thus, SAA is one potential target in the treatment of diseases associated with chronic inflammation. The purpose of this review is to shed light on SAA as an immunologically active protein. We also focus on the recent findings implicating SAA in the regulation of the inflammasome cascade.

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