The molecular mechanisms underlying protective granuloma formation and control of bacterial growth during infection with Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB) are not yet completely understood. MTB-infected mice with natural deficiency in complement component C5 are unable to develop productive granulomatous responses, and are impaired in limiting organism growth within the lung. To address the molecular basis for this histologic dysfunction, congenic complement C5-sufficient (B10.D2-H2d H2-T18c Hcl/nSnJ) and complement C5-deficient strains (B10.D2-H2d H2-T18c Hco/oSnJ) congenic mice were infected with Mycobacterium tuberculosis, and cytokine and chemokine responses were examined. Twelve and 28 days after infection, lungs showed elevated messages for multiple inflammatory cytokines in both congenic strains. Interleukin (IL)-12(p40) mRNA was also induced during infection in C5-deficient mice, although levels were significantly decreased compared to CS-sufficient congenics. CS-deficient mice also demonstrated reduced KC, MIP-2, IP-10, and MCP-1 mRNA. The defect may directly involve C5-mediated effects on macrophage responses; C5-deficient bone marrow derived macrophages had significantly reduced secretion of KC, MIP-1α and MIP-2 compared to C5-sufficient macrophages following in vitro infection. These findings indicate a role for C5 in mediation of chemotactic and activation events that are the basis for granulomatous responses during murine tuberculosis.
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