A Protective Role for Complement C3 Protein during Pandemic 2009 H1N1 and H5N1 Influenza A Virus Infection

Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin, United States of America.
PLoS ONE (Impact Factor: 3.23). 03/2011; 6(3):e17377. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0017377
Source: PubMed


Highly pathogenic H5N1 influenza infections are associated with enhanced inflammatory and cytokine responses, severe lung damage, and an overall dysregulation of innate immunity. C3, a member of the complement system of serum proteins, is a major component of the innate immune and inflammatory responses. However, the role of this protein in the pathogenesis of H5N1 infection is unknown. Here we demonstrate that H5N1 influenza virus infected mice had increased levels of C5a and C3 activation byproducts as compared to mice infected with either seasonal or pandemic 2009 H1N1 influenza viruses. We hypothesized that the increased complement was associated with the enhanced disease associated with the H5N1 infection. However, studies in knockout mice demonstrated that C3 was required for protection from influenza infection, proper viral clearance, and associated with changes in cellular infiltration. These studies suggest that although the levels of complement activation may differ depending on the influenza virus subtype, complement is an important host defense mechanism.

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Available from: Mark T Heise, Jul 25, 2014
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    • "Both the classical and alternative pathway activations were shown to play important roles in complement mediated opsonophagocytosis of Spn in the middle ear of mice. Other investigators have demonstrated that C3 is required for protection from influenza infection, adequate viral clearance, and inflammatory cellular infiltration [19]. "
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    ABSTRACT: There is considerable evidence that influenza A virus (IAV) promotes adherence, colonization, and superinfection by S. pneumoniae (Spn) and contributes to the pathogenesis of otitis media (OM). The complement system is a critical innate immune defense against both pathogens. To assess the role of the complement system in the host defense and the pathogenesis of acute pneumococcal OM following IAV infection, we employed a well-established transtympanically-induced mouse model of acute pneumococcal OM. We found that antecedent IAV infection enhanced the severity of acute pneumococcal OM. Mice deficient in complement C1qa (C1qa-/-) or factor B (Bf -/-) exhibited delayed viral and bacterial clearance from the middle ear and developed significant mucosal damage in the eustachian tube and middle ear. This indicates that both the classical and alternative complement pathways are critical for the oto-immune defense against acute pneumococcal OM following influenza infection. We also found that Spn increased complement activation following IAV infection. This was characterized by sustained increased levels of anaphylatoxins C3a and C5a in serum and middle ear lavage samples. In contrast, mice deficient in the complement C5a receptor (C5aR) demonstrated enhanced bacterial clearance and reduced severity of OM. Our data support the concept that C5a-C5aR interactions play a significant role in the pathogenesis of acute pneumococcal OM following IAV infection. It is possible that targeting the C5a-C5aR axis might prove useful in attenuating acute pneumococcal OM in patients with influenza infection.
    PLoS ONE 04/2014; 9(4):e95160. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0095160 · 3.23 Impact Factor
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    • "A recent paper from O’Brien and colleagues (2011) detected increased C3a and C5a levels in BALF of mice infected with a highly pathogenic H5N1 avian Influenza virus, VN/1194 but not in BALF of animals inoculated with low virulent seasonal or 2009 pandemic viruses [11]. Using the mouse adapted IAV strain A/WSN/33, that mimics a model of severe infection [38] to study innate immune response to the virus we found an increase in C5a levels during the course of infection. "
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    ABSTRACT: Influenza virus A (IAV) causes annual epidemics and intermittent pandemics that affect millions of people worldwide. Potent inflammatory responses are commonly associated with severe cases of IAV infection. The complement system, an important mechanism of innate and humoral immune responses to infections, is activated during primary IAV infection and mediates, in association with natural IgM, viral neutralization by virion aggregation and coating of viral hemmagglutinin. Increased levels of the anaphylatoxin C5a were found in patients fatally infected with the most recent H1N1 pandemic virus. In this study, our aim was to evaluate whether targeting C5 activation alters inflammatory lung injury and viral load in a murine model of IAV infection. To address this question C57Bl/6j mice were infected intranasally with 10(4) PFU of the mouse adapted Influenza A virus A/WSN/33 (H1N1) or inoculated with PBS (Mock). We demonstrated that C5a is increased in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) upon experimental IAV infection. To evaluate the role of C5, we used OmCI, a potent arthropod-derived inhibitor of C5 activation that binds to C5 and prevents release of C5a by complement. OmCI was given daily by intraperitoneal injection from the day of IAV infection until day 5. Treatment with OmCI only partially reduced C5a levels in BALF. However, there was significant inhibition of neutrophil and macrophage infiltration in the airways, Neutrophil Extracellular Traps (NETs) formation, death of leukocytes, lung epithelial injury and overall lung damage induced by the infection. There was no effect on viral load. Taken together, these data suggest that targeting C5 activation with OmCI during IAV infection could be a promising approach to reduce excessive inflammatory reactions associated with the severe forms of IAV infections.
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