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Am J Pathol. 1980 Aug;100(2):327-48.

Pulmonary injury induced by C3a and C5a anaphylatoxins.


Homogeneous anaphylatoxins C3a (human or porcine), C5a (porcine), and the porcine classic anaphylatoxin, a mixture of C5a and C5a des Arg, isolated from complement-activated serum, were shown to induce acute pulmonary injury in the guinea pig following intrabonchial instillation. The gross physiologic response to these factors is characterized by respiratory distress with rapid, shallow breathing. Administration of 8--17 micrograms/kg of porcine classic anaphylatoxin proved lethal in 50% of the animals treated. The acute response (less than 20 minutes after instillation) of pulmonary tissue to insult by the anaphylatoxins is characterized by constriction of the smooth muscle walls in both bronchioles and pulmonary arteries and by focal atelectasis. Aggregates of platelets and leukocytes in pulmonary vessels and in other organs such as the chambers of the heart were commonly observed after intrabronchial administration of the anaphylatoxins. Although C3a was never lethal in guinea pigs even when doses as high as 500 micrograms/kg were administered by the intrabronchial route, this anaphylatoxin did induce the same pattern of acute pulmonary injury as C5a. In vitro experiments employing guinea pig platelets indicated that these cells aggregate in the presence of 10(-10) M porcine C5a but are not affected by C3a (human or porcine) even at levels up to 10(-6) M. Hence, platelet aggregation as observed in vivo may be directly affected by C5a, but in the case of C3a, secondary mediators must be involved. Anaphylatoxin preparations were also shown to induce contraction of guinea pig lung strips in vitro: this effect was not inhibited by antihistamines at concentrations that blocked contraction to exogenous histamine. The in vivo response to anaphylatoxin could be blocked with high doses of the antihistamine chlorpheniramine but not by corresponding doses of diphenhydramine.

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