Carboxypeptidase B2 deficiency reveals opposite effects of complement C3a and C5a in a murine polymicrobial sepsis model
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BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Carboxypeptidase B2 (CPB2) is a basic carboxypeptidase with fibrin and complement C3a and C5a as physiological substrates. We hypothesized that in polymicrobial sepsis, CPB2-deficient mice would have sustained C5a activity, leading to disease exacerbation. METHODS: Polymicrobial sepsis was induced by cecal ligation and puncture (CLP). RESULTS: Contrary to our hypothesis, Cpb2(-/-) mice had significantly improved survival, with reduced lung edema, less liver and kidney damage, and less disseminated intravascular coagulation. Hepatic pro-CPB2 was induced by CLP, leading to increased pro-CPB2 levels. Thrombomodulin present on mesothelium supported thrombin activation of pro-CPB2. Both wild-type and Cpb2(-/-) animals treated with a C5a receptor antagonist had improved survival, demonstrating that C5a was detrimental in this model. Treatment with a fibrinolysis inhibitor, tranexamic acid, caused a decrease in survival in both genotypes; however, the Cpb2(-/-) animals retained their survival advantage. Administration of a C3a receptor antagonist exacerbated the disease in both wild-type and Cpb2(-/-) mice and eliminated the survival advantage of Cpb2(-/-) mice. C5a receptor is expressed in both peritoneal macrophages and neutrophils; in contrast, C3a receptor expression is restricted to peritoneal macrophages, and C3a induced signaling in macrophages but not neutrophils. CONCLUSIONS: While C5a exacerbates the peritonitis, resulting in a deleterious generalized inflammatory state, C3a activation of peritoneal macrophages may limit the initial infection following CLP, thereby playing a diametrically opposing protective role in this polymicrobial sepsis model.
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