Neopterin is produced by human and primate monocyte/macrophages upon activation by pro-inflammatory stimuli like Th1-type cytokine interferon-γ. Neopterin has pro-oxidative properties, which have been demonstrated in vitro in physicochemical and cell culture studies and also in in vivo experiments, e.g. the Langendorff perfusion model of rat hearts. In the past several years, the measurement of neopterin concentrations in body fluids including serum, urine and cerebrospinal fluid has revealed a potential role of this molecule in the prediction of long-term prognosis in both patients with cancer and those with systemic infections such as HIV-1 infection. Moreover, elevated neopterin concentrations have been reported in patients with coronary disease compared to controls and in recent years it has become apparent that increased neopterin concentrations are an independent marker for cardiovascular disease and a predictor of future cardiovascular events in patients with coronary artery disease. Current data suggest that the diagnostic performance of neopterin testing is comparable to that of well established biomarkers such as C-reactive protein and cholesterol plasma levels. The present article reviews the role of neopterin in the pathogenesis of cardiovascular disease and as a marker of coronary artery disease progression.
Keywords: Neopterin, Atherogenesis, Cardiovascular Risk, cytokine interferon-γ
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