Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disease of the lung resulting in airway obstruction. The airway inflammation of asthma is strongly linked to Th2 lymphocytes and their cytokines, particularly IL-4, IL-5, and IL-13, which regulate airway hyperresponsiveness, eosinophil activation, mucus production, and IgE secretion. Historically, complement was not thought to contribute to the pathogenesis of asthma. However, our previous reports have demonstrated that complement contributes to bronchial hyper-reactivity, recruitment of airway eosinophils, IL-4 production, and IgE responses in a mouse model of pulmonary allergy. To define the complement activation fragments that mediate these effects, we assessed the role of the complement anaphylatoxin C3a in a mouse model of pulmonary allergy by challenging C3aR-deficient mice intranasally with a mixed Ag preparation of Aspergillus fumigatus cell culture filtrate and OVA. Analysis by plethysmography after challenge revealed an attenuation in airway hyperresponsiveness in C3aR-deficient mice relative to wild-type mice. C3aR-deficient mice also had an 88% decrease in airway eosinophils and a 59% reduction in lung IL-4-producing cells. Consistent with the reduced numbers of IL-4-producing cells, C3aR-deficient mice had diminished bronchoalveolar lavage levels of the Th2 cytokines, IL-5 and IL-13. C3aR knockout mice also exhibited decreases in IgE titers as well as reduced mucus production. Collectively, these data highlight the importance of complement activation, the C3a anaphylatoxin, and its receptor during Th2 development in this experimental model and implicate these molecules as possible therapeutic targets in diseases such as asthma.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy