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J Immunol. 2000 Aug 1;165(3):1588-98.

Early local generation of C5a initiates the elicitation of contact sensitivity by leading to early T cell recruitment.

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  • 1Noda Institute for Scientific Research, Chiba-ken, Japan.


We have shown previously that an early complement C5-dependent cascade is required to recruit T cells to elicit 24-h contact sensitivity (CS) responses. In this paper, we have characterized molecular events of this early required cascade by biochemically analyzing extracts of mouse ears undergoing elicitation of CS. Chemotactic activity was found after local Ag challenge, in CS ear extracts early (by 1 h), in CS ear extracts late (through 24 h), in previously immunized mice, but not in ears of vehicle-immunized or non-immune-challenged mice. The early chemotactic activity at 2 h was likely caused by C5a, because it was neutralized in vitro by anti-C5a Ab, was inactive on C5aR-deficient (C5aR-/-) macrophages, and was absent in C5-deficient mice. The activity was present in T cell-deficient mice, but elaboration was Ag-specific. This T cell-independent, Ag-specific elaboration of C5a early in CS ear responses likely led to T cell recruitment, because subsequent local IFN-gamma mRNA and protein expression, as markers of T cell arrival and activation, began by 4 h after Ag challenge. In contrast to early C5a chemotactic activity, late chemotactic activity 24 h after Ag challenge was unaffected by anti-C5, was active on C5aR-/- macrophages, was T cell-dependent, and by ELISA appeared largely due to chemokines (macrophage-inflammatory protein-1alpha and -1beta, IFN-gamma-inducible protein-10, and monocyte chemoattractant protein-1). Importantly, early generation of C5a was required for T cell recruitment because C5aR-/- mice had absent 24-h CS. Taken together, these findings indicate an important linkage of C5a as a component of early activated innate immunity that is required for later elicitation of acquired T cell immunity, probably by facilitating the initial recruitment of T cells into the Ag-challenged local site in CS responses.

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