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J Clin Invest. 2012 Jun 1;122(6):2234-8. doi: 10.1172/JCI61019. Epub 2012 May 15.

Antigen-presenting cell-derived complement modulates graft-versus-host disease.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, New York 10029, USA.


Acute graft-versus-host disease (GvHD) is a serious complication of allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation (allo-HCT) that results from donor allogeneic T cell attack on host tissues. Based on previous work implicating immune cell-derived C3a and C5a as regulators of T cell immunity, we examined the effects of locally produced C3a and C5a on murine T cell-mediated GvHD. We found that total body irradiation, a conditioning regimen required to permit engraftment of allo-HCT, caused upregulation and activation of alternative pathway complement components by recipient APCs. Allo-HCT with decay accelerating factor-null (Daf1(-/-)) host BM and Daf1(-/-) donor lymphocytes led to exacerbated GvHD outcome and resulted in splenic and organ-infiltrating T cell expansion. T cells deficient in C3a receptor (C3aR) and/or C5a receptor (C5aR) responded weakly in allogeneic hosts and exhibited limited ability to induce GvHD. Using a clinically relevant treatment strategy, we showed that pharmacological C5aR blockade reduced GvHD morbidity. Our data mechanistically link APC-derived complement to T cell-mediated GvHD and support complement inhibition as a therapeutic strategy for GvHD in humans.

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