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Blood. 2007 Jul 1;110(1):228-36. Epub 2007 Mar 15.

Regulation of Toll-like receptor-mediated inflammatory response by complement in vivo.

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Institute for Translational Medicine and Therapeutics and Department of Pharmacology, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.

Erratum in

  • Blood. 2007 Dec 1;110(12):3841.


Toll-like receptors (TLRs) and complement are 2 components of innate immunity that are critical for first-line host defense and elicitation of adaptive immune responses. Many pathogen-associated molecular patterns activate both TLR and complement, but whether and how these 2 systems, when coactivated in vivo, interact with each other has not been well studied. We demonstrate here a widespread regulation of TLR signaling by complement in vivo. The TLR ligands lipopolysacharride (TLR4), zymosan (TLR2/6), and CpG oligonucleotide (TLR9) caused, in a complement-dependent manner, strikingly elevated plasma interleukin-6 (IL-6), tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha), and IL-1beta, and/or decreased plasma IL-12 levels in mice deficient in the membrane complement inhibitor decay-accelerating factor (DAF). A similar outcome was observed in wild-type mice cotreated with the TLR ligands and cobra venom factor, a potent complement activator. The regulatory effect of complement on TLR-induced cytokine production in vivo was mediated by the anaphylatoxin receptors C5aR and C3aR. Additionally, changes in lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced cytokine production in DAF-deficient mice correlated with increased mitogen-activated protein kinase and nuclear factor-kappaB activation in the spleen. These results reveal a strong interaction between complement and TLR signaling in vivo and suggest a novel mechanism by which complement promotes inflammation and modulates adaptive immunity.

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