Clinical and experimental immunology

Regulation of the alternative pathway of complement modulates injury and immunity in a chronic model of dextran sulphate sodium-induced colitis.

PMID 25293413


The role of complement in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) has been studied primarily using acute models, and it is unclear how complement affects processes in more relevant chronic models of IBD in which modulation of adaptive immunity and development of fibrosis have pathogenic roles. Using mice deficient in C1q/mannose-binding lectin (MBL) or C3, we demonstrated an important role for these opsonins and/or the classical pathway C3 convertase in providing protection against mucosal injury and infection in a model of chronic dextran sulphate sodium (DSS)-induced colitis. In contrast, deficiency of the alternative pathway (fB(-/-) mice) had significantly less impact on injury profiles. Consequently, the effect of a targeted inhibitor of the alternative pathway was investigated in a therapeutic protocol. Following the establishment of colitis, mice were treated with CR2-fH during subsequent periods of DSS treatment and acute injury (modelling relapse). CR2-fH significantly reduced complement activation, inflammation and injury in the colon, and additionally reduced fibrosis. Alternative pathway inhibition also altered the immune response in the chronic state in terms of reducing numbers of B cells, macrophages and mature dendritic cells in the lamina propria. This study indicates an important role for the alternative pathway of complement in the pathogenesis and the shaping of an immune response in chronic DSS-induced colitis, and supports further investigation into the use of targeted alternative pathway inhibition for the treatment of IBD.