Complement in Immune and Inflammatory Disorders: Therapeutic Interventions
With the awareness that immune-inflammatory cross-talk is at the heart of many disorders, the desire for novel immunomodulatory strategies in the therapy of such diseases has grown dramatically. As a prime initiator and important modulator of immunological and inflammatory processes, the complement system has emerged as an attractive target for early and upstream intervention in inflammatory diseases and has moved into the spotlight of drug discovery. Although prevalent conditions such as age-related macular degeneration have attracted the most attention, the diverse array of complement-mediated pathologies, with distinct underlying mechanisms, demands a multifaceted arsenal of therapeutic strategies. Fortunately, efforts in recent years have not only introduced the first complement inhibitors to the clinic but also filled the pipelines with promising candidates. With a focus on immunomodulatory strategies, in this review we discuss complement-directed therapeutic concepts and highlight promising candidate molecules.
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Activation of complement cascade via the antibody-mediated classical pathway can initiate red blood cell (RBC) destruction, causing transfusion reactions and hemolytic anemia. In the present study, we have assessed the ability of a human recombinant soluble form of complement receptor 1 (sCR1) to inhibit complement-mediated RBC destruction in vitro and in vivo. Using an in vitro alloimmune incompatibility model, sCR1 inhibited complement activation and prevented hemolysis. Following transfusion of human group O RBCs into mice lacking detectable pre-existing antibodies against the transfused RBCs, systemic coadministration of 10 mg/kg sCR1, a dose well tolerated in human subjects for prevention of tissue injury, completely inhibited the in vivo clearance of the transfused RBCs and surface C3 deposition in the first hour after transfusion, correlating with the half-life of sCR1 in the circulation. Treatment with sCR1 increased the survival of transfused human group A RBCs in the circulation of mice with pre-existing anti-A for 2 hours after transfusion by 50%, reduced intravascular hemolysis, and lowered the levels of complement deposition (C3 and C4), but not immunoglobulin G (IgG) or IgM, on the transfused cells by 100-fold. We further identified potential functional domains in CR1 that can act to limit complement-mediated RBC destruction in vitro and in vivo. Collectively, our data highlight a potential use of CR1-based inhibitors for prevention of complement-dependent immune hemolysis.