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Complement factor C5a exerts an anti-inflammatory effect in acute pancreatitis and associated lung injury.

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Department of Surgery and Medicine, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School, Harvard Digestive Diseases Center, Boston, MA 02215, USA.


Complement factor C5a acting via C5a receptors (C5aR) is recognized as an anaphylotoxin and chemoattractant that exerts proinflammatory effects in many pathological states. The effects of C5a and C5aR in acute pancreatitis and in pancreatitis-associated lung injury were evaluated using genetically altered mice that either lack C5aR or do not express C5. Pancreatitis was induced by administration of 12 hourly injections of cerulein (50 microg/kg ip). The severity of pancreatitis was determined by measuring serum amylase, neutrophil sequestration in the pancreas, and acinar cell necrosis. The severity of lung injury was evaluated by measuring neutrophil sequestration in the lung and pulmonary microvascular permeability. In both strains of genetically altered mice, the severity of pancreatitis and pancreatitis-associated lung injury was greater than that noted in the comparison wild-type strains of C5aR- and C5-sufficient animals. This exacerbation of injury in the absence of C5a function indicates that, in pancreatitis, C5a exerts an anti-inflammatory effect. Potentially, C5a and its receptor are capable of both promoting and reducing the extent of acute inflammation.

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