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Eur J Immunol. 1990 Aug;20(8):1669-75.

Expression of complement alternative pathway proteins by endothelial cells. Differential regulation by interleukin 1 and glucocorticoids.

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INSERM U-78, Bois-Guillaume, France.


We have studied the secretion of proteins of the alternative pathway of complement C3, factor B and factor H by human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVEC). Results showed that factor H and factor B are quantitatively secreted in abundance whereas C3 could only be detected when the cells are maintained in culture during long periods of time. Interferon-gamma stimulated factor H, factor B and, to a lesser extent, C3 secretions. Interleukin (IL) 1 had a differential effect on spontaneous C3, factor B and factor H secretions. In the presence of IL 1, there was a significant secretion of C3 occurring within a short period of culture. IL 1 also stimulated factor B secretion. There was a synergistic stimulating effect between IL 1 and interferon-gamma to bring C3 and factor B productions by HUVEC to very high levels. In contrast, factor H secretion was consistently inhibited by IL 1. Local increase in C3 and factor B secretions by endothelial cells in the presence of IL 1 may have important implications in the inflammatory reaction. In striking contrast, the glucocorticoid dexamethasone (DXM) had modulatory effects which are consistent with its anti-inflammatory properties. DXM, at therapeutic concentrations, decreased C3 and factor B secretions and increased factor H secretion. Local modulation of complement protein secretion by DXM appears to be a new mechanism by which this glucocorticoid may control inflammation.

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