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J Virol. 2007 Jan;81(2):991-9. Epub 2006 Nov 1.

C5 modulates airway hyperreactivity and pulmonary eosinophilia during enhanced respiratory syncytial virus disease by decreasing C3a receptor expression.

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INFANT Fundacion, Buenos Aires, Argentina.


Enhanced respiratory syncytial virus disease, a serious pulmonary disorder that affected recipients of an inactivated vaccine against respiratory syncytial virus in the 1960s, has delayed the development of vaccines against the virus. The enhanced disease was characterized by immune complex-mediated airway hyperreactivity and a severe pneumonia associated with pulmonary eosinophilia. In this paper, we show that complement factors contribute to enhanced-disease phenotypes. Mice with a targeted disruption of complement component C5 affected by the enhanced disease displayed enhanced airway reactivity, lung eosinophilia, and mucus production compared to wild-type mice and C5-deficient mice reconstituted with C5. C3aR expression in bronchial epithelial and smooth muscle cells in the lungs of C5-deficient mice was enhanced compared to that in wild-type and reconstituted rodents. Treatment of C5-deficient mice with a C3aR antagonist significantly attenuated airway reactivity, eosinophilia, and mucus production. These results indicate that C5 plays a crucial role in modulating the enhanced-disease phenotype, by affecting expression of C3aR in the lungs. These findings reveal a novel autoregulatory mechanism for the complement cascade that affects the innate and adaptive immune responses.

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