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J Immunol. 2007 Sep 15;179(6):4187-92.

Inter-alpha-trypsin inhibitor attenuates complement activation and complement-induced lung injury.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC 27710, USA.


Complement activation is a central component of inflammation and sepsis and can lead to significant tissue injury. Complement factors are serum proteins that work through a cascade of proteolytic reactions to amplify proinflammatory signals. Inter-alpha-trypsin inhibitor (IaI) is an abundant serum protease inhibitor that contains potential complement-binding domains, and has been shown to improve survival in animal sepsis models. We hypothesized that IaI can bind complement and inhibit complement activation, thus ameliorating complement-dependent inflammation. We evaluated this hypothesis with in vitro complement activation assays and in vivo in a murine model of complement-dependent lung injury. We found that IaI inhibited complement activation through the classical and alternative pathways, inhibited complement-dependent phagocytosis in vitro, and reduced complement-dependent lung injury in vivo. This novel function of IaI provides a mechanistic explanation for its observed salutary effects in sepsis and opens new possibilities for its use as a treatment agent in inflammatory diseases.

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