Regulation of T cell function by complement C5A in mice during mycobacterial infection

Mary Anne Mashruwala, The University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Houston


Tuberculosis is the leading cause of death in the world due to a single infectious agent, making it critical to investigate all aspects of the immune response mounted against the causative agent, Mycobacterium tuberculosis , in order to better treat and prevent disease. Previous observations show a disparity in the ability to control mycobacterial growth between mouse strains sufficient in C5, such as C57BL/6 and B10.D2/nSnJ, and those naturally deficient in C5, such as A/J and B10.D2/nSnJ, with C5 deficient mice being more susceptible. It has been shown that during M. tuberculosis infection, C5 deficient macrophages have a defect in production of interleukin (IL)-12, a cytokine involved in the cyclical activation between infected macrophages and effector T cells. T cells stimulated by IL-12 produce interferon (IFN)-γ, the signature cytokine of T helper type 1 (Th1) cells. It is known that a cell-mediated Th1 response is crucial for control of M. tuberculosis in the lungs of humans and mice. This study demonstrates that murine T cells express detectable levels of CD88, a receptor for C5a (C5aR), following antigen presentation by macrophages infected with mycobacteria. T cells from C5 deficient mice infected with M. tuberculosis were found to secrete less IFN-γ and had a reduced Th1 phenotype associated with fewer cells expressing the transcription factor, T-box expressed in T cells (T-bet). The altered Th1 phenotype in M. tuberculosis infected C5 deficient mice coincided with a rise in IL-4 and IL-10 secretion from Th2 cells and inducible regulatory T cells, respectively. It was found that the ineffective T cell response to mycobacteria in C5 deficient mice was due indirectly to a lack of C5a via poor priming by infected macrophages and possibly by a direct interaction between T cells and C5a peptide. Therefore, these studies show a link between the cells of the innate and adaptive arms of the immune system, macrophages and T cells respectively, that was mediated by C5a using a mouse model of M. tuberculosis infection.

Subject Area


Recommended Citation

Mashruwala, Mary Anne, "Regulation of T cell function by complement C5A in mice during mycobacterial infection" (2006). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI3249202.