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Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2001 Nov 15;164(10 Pt 1):1841-3.

Complement factors C3a and C5a are increased in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid after segmental allergen provocation in subjects with asthma.

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Fraunhofer-Institute of Toxicology and Aerosol Research, Hannover, Germany.


Allergic asthma is thought to be the result of an inappropriate specific immune response against common environmental antigens. However, studies of animal asthma models have also linked the innate immune system, in particular complement factors C3a and C5, to murine airway hyperresponsiveness. Because the possible role of these anaphylatoxins in patients with asthma is not understood, we tested the hypothesis that C3a and C5a will increase in the bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluid of patients with asthma after segmental allergen provocation. In a group of 15 subjects with mild asthma we found a significant upregulation of C3a and C5a 24 h after allergen challenge compared with baseline values (p < 0.01). In a control group of healthy volunteers the concentrations remained basically unchanged. Furthermore, we found a strong correlation between both anaphylatoxins and the number of eosinophils (p < 0.01) and, to a lesser degree, with the number of neutrophils (p < 0.05) in BAL fluid. These data suggest a contribution of anaphylatoxins C3a and C5a to the pathogenesis in asthma. However, the pathogenic role of these substances in relation to asthma remains to be elucidated, for example, by using anaphylatoxin receptor blockers as a possible new therapeutic principle.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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