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J Immunol. 1999 Apr 1;162(7):4018-23.

Human T cells express the C5a receptor and are chemoattracted to C5a.

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  • 1Department of Microbiology, Division of Clinical Immunology and Rheumatology, University of Alabama, Birmingham, AL 35294, USA.


The anaphylatoxin C5a is a potent mediator of inflammation that exerts a broad range of activity on cells of the myeloid lineage. In this study, we present the first evidence that human T cells express the C5a receptor (C5aR) and are chemotactic to C5a. Using FACS analysis, we found that the C5aR was expressed at a low basal level on unstimulated T cells and was strikingly up-regulated upon PHA stimulation in a time- and dose-dependent manner. CD3+ sorted T cells as well as Jurkat T cells were shown to express C5aR mRNA as assessed by RT-PCR. Moreover, semiquantitative RT-PCR analysis demonstrated that C5aR mRNA was down-regulated in purified T cells upon long-term PHA stimulation. To demonstrate that C5a was biologically active on T cells, we investigated the chemotactic activity of C5a and observed that purified CD3+ T cells are chemotactic to C5a at nanomolar concentrations. Finally, using a combination of in situ hybridization and immunohistochemistry, we showed that the T cells infiltrating the central nervous system during experimental allergic encephalomyelitis express the C5aR mRNA. In summary, these results suggest that C5a exerts direct effects on T cells and could be involved in the trafficking of T cells under physiological and pathological conditions, including inflammatory diseases of the central nervous system.

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