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Complement Inflamm. 1989;6(3):175-204.

Ba and Bb fragments of factor B activation: fragment production, biological activities, neoepitope expression and quantitation in clinical samples.

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Division of Complement Research, Cytotech Inc., San Diego, Calif.


Factor B is a centrally important component of the alternative complement pathway. Alternative pathway activation results in factor B cleavage and production of the amino-terminal Ba and the carboxyl-terminal Bb fragments which have molecular weights of approximately 30,000 and 63,000 daltons, respectively. Both Ba and Bb fragments have been reported to express a variety of biological activities in vitro. Thus, binding of Ba and Bb fragments to specific B lymphocyte surface receptors modulates proliferation of prestimulated B cells. In addition, the enzymatically active Bb fragment induces activation and spreading of human and murine macrophages and monocytes as well as regulates C5a des Arg chemotactic activity. The fractional catabolic rate and metabolism of factor B in vivo is similar to that of C3, C4 and C5 complement proteins, which are among the most metabolically active plasma proteins in the circulatory system. Factor B hyperconsumption and increased catabolism, concomitant with factor B fragment production, occurs in a wide variety of diseases, including gram-negative sepsis, autoimmune diseases and burns. Measurement of alternative pathway activation in vivo has been attempted utilized a number of different techniques to quantitate factor B fragments in biological fluids. However, the recent development of enzyme immunoassays (EIA) employing monoclonal antibodies (MoAbs) reactive with factor B fragment neoepitopes provides the best approach currently available for the quantitation of factor B activation fragments. Results obtained using these new MoAb-based EIAs have indicated that factor B fragment concentrations were elevated, as compared with normal donor levels, in EDTA plasma samples obtained from patients with rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Plasma concentrations of factor B fragments, especially Ba fragment levels, in these patients showed a positive correlation with disease activity scores. One of the highest disease activity correlations was obtained with Ba fragment measurements in SLE plasma samples. In fact, the results strongly suggested that quantitation of Ba fragment levels in SLE plasma samples more accurately reflected disease activity and was a more sensitive predictor of impending flare in these patients than any other test(s) currently available.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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