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J Leukoc Biol. 2001 Jan;69(1):69-74.

Adjuvant effect of gamma-inulin is mediated by C3 fragments deposited on antigen-presenting cells.

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Department of Immunology, Eötvös Loránd University, Göd, Hungary.


The adjuvant effect of gamma-inulin, a strong activator of the alternative complement pathway, is well-known, but its exact mechanism is not revealed yet. Here, we show that macrophages, isolated from the peritoneal cavity of gamma-inulin-injected mice and used as antigen-presenting cells, enhance the proliferation of antigen-specific T-cells up to 2.5-fold when compared with macrophages of non-treated animals. This effect is abrogated by the presence of anti-C3 F(ab')2 fragments and by prior decomplementation of the donor animals with CVF. It is demonstrated that treatment of mice with the adjuvant results in deposition of C3-fragments onto the surface of peritoneal macrophages, as does in vitro incubation of the cells with gamma-inulin in the presence of fresh autologous serum. Prior incubation of macrophages with gamma-inulin plus serum in vitro enhances subsequent C3 production. Because it has been shown earlier that CR1/2 expressed on activated T-cells and interacting with covalently bound C3-fragments plays an important role in the augmentation of the adaptive response, our present results reveal a mechanism that contributes to the adjuvant effect of gamma-inulin and point to a further link between innate and adaptive immunity.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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