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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Effects of complement activation in the isolated heart. Role of the terminal complement components.

The mechanisms of the complement-mediated myocardial injury associated with ischemia and reperfusion have not been elucidated fully. Complement activation may directly mediate injury through actions of the anaphylatoxins C3a and C5a or generation of the membrane attack complex C5b-9. A model was developed to examine the direct effects of complement activation on heart function, assess myocardial tissue damage, and determine which complement components mediate tissue injury. Isolated rabbit hearts were perfused with Krebs-Henseleit buffer by using a modified Langendorff apparatus. Human plasma was added to the perfusate as a source of complement. Rabbit tissue activates human complement. Treatment with 6% normal plasma resulted in complement activation as assessed by the generation of Bb, C3a, C5a, and SC5b-9. Functional changes in cardiac performance became apparent 7-15 minutes after plasma addition and developed fully over the next 20-30 minutes. The effects were dependent on the complement titer and included 1) an increase in the end-diastolic pressure, 2) a decrease in the developed pressure, 3) an increase in the coronary perfusion pressure, and 4) an increase in lymphatic fluid formation. These effects were not elicited when an inhibitor of complement activation (FUT-175) was present or when heat-inactivated plasma was used. The effects of complement activation on myocardial function could not be reproduced by treatment with recombinant human C5a, zymosan-activated plasma, or plasma selectively depleted of C8. Myocardial tissue accumulated sodium and calcium and lost potassium as a result of complement activation. Activation caused the release of creatine kinase from myocytes and an increase in the radiolabeled albumin space of the hearts. The data demonstrate that complement activation caused decrements in myocardial function and increased the coronary perfusion pressure and lymphatic fluid flow rate. The effects were not mediated by the anaphylatoxins but were dependent on the distal complement component C8, suggesting that C5b-9 was responsible for the physiological changes. Complement activation directly mediated tissue injury in a manner consistent with plasmalemmal disruption as a result of C5b-9 formation. The data suggest that the C5b-9 complex, which is known to form under conditions of ischemia, may contribute directly to myocardial cell injury.[1]


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