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J Immunol. 2012 Jul 1;189(1):312-7. doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.1200603. Epub 2012 May 30.

Relative contributions of dectin-1 and complement to immune responses to particulate β-glucans.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, MA 01605, USA.


Glucan particles (GPs) are Saccharomyces cerevisiae cell walls chemically extracted so they are composed primarily of particulate β-1,3-D-glucans. GPs are recognized by Dectin-1 and are potent complement activators. Mice immunized with Ag-loaded GPs develop robust Ab and CD4(+) T cell responses. In this study, we examined the relative contributions of Dectin-1 and complement to GP phagocytosis and Ag-specific responses to immunization with OVA encapsulated in GPs. The in vitro phagocytosis of GPs by bone marrow-derived dendritic cells was facilitated by heat-labile serum component(s) independently of Dectin-1. This enhanced uptake was not seen with serum from complement component 3 knockout (C3(-/-)) mice and was also inhibited by blocking Abs directed against complement receptor 3. After i.p. injection, percent phagocytosis of GPs by peritoneal macrophages was comparable in wild-type and Dectin-1(-/-) mice and was not inhibited by the soluble β-glucan antagonist laminarin. In contrast, a much lower percentage of peritoneal macrophages from C3(-/-) mice phagocytosed GPs, and this percentage was further reduced in the presence of laminarin. Subcutaneous immunization of wild-type, Dectin-1(-/-), and C3(-/-) mice with GP-OVA resulted in similar Ag-specific IgG(1) and IgG(2c) type Ab and CD4(+) T cell lymphoproliferative responses. Moreover, while CD4(+) Th1 and Th2 responses measured by ELISPOT assay were similar in the three mouse strains, Th17 responses were reduced in C3(-/-) mice. Thus, although Dectin-1 is necessary for optimal phagocytosis of GPs in the absence of complement, complement dominates when both an intact complement system and Dectin-1 are present. In addition, Th-skewing after GP-based immunization was altered in C3(-/-) mice.

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