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Interest in the role of paraoxonases (PON) in cardiovascular research has increased substantially over the past two decades. These multifaceted and pleiotropic enzymes are encoded by three highly conserved genes (PON1, PON2, and PON3) located on chromosome 7q21.3-22.1. Phylogenetic analysis suggests that PON2 is the ancient gene from which PON1 and PON3 arose via gene duplication. Although PON are primarily lactonases with overlapping, but distinct specificities, their physiologic substrates remain poorly characterized. The most interesting characteristic of PON, however, is their multifunctional roles in various biochemical pathways. These include protection against oxidative damage and lipid peroxidation, contribution to innate immunity, detoxification of reactive molecules, bioactivation of drugs, modulation of endoplasmic reticulum stress, and regulation of cell proliferation/apoptosis. In general, PON appear as "hunters" of old and new substrates often involved in athero- and thrombogenesis. Although reduced PON activity appears associated with increased cardiovascular risk, the correlation between PON genotype and ischemic heart disease remains controversial. In this review, we examine the biochemical pathways impacted by these unique enzymes and investigate the potential use of PON as diagnostic tools and their impact on development of future therapeutic strategies.


Nicola Martinelli, Letizia Consoli, Domenico Girelli, Elisa Grison, Roberto Corrocher, Oliviero Olivieri. Paraoxonases: ancient substrate hunters and their evolving role in ischemic heart disease. Advances in clinical chemistry. 2013;59:65-100

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PMID: 23461133

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