Mechanisms of complement activation under hemolytic conditions

Abstract : Complement system is a complex and tightly regulated innate immune defensive cascade, which can promote tissue damage, when overactivated. Hemolysis-derived danger associated molecular pattern heme is able to activate complement in serum and on endothelial cells (EC) in vitro, providing a rational for scrutinizing the impact of complement activation in hemolytic diseases. The objectives of this work were to study whether and how intravascular hemolysis induces complement activation in vivo, and to understand the underlying mechanism that leads to the acquisition of a complement activating phenotype of the endothelium in order to identify novel therapeutic strategies. We found complement deposits, including C3 activation fragments and C5b-9, within kidneys of patients with sickle cell disease (SCD) nephropathy (a prototypical hemolytic disease) as well as in a mouse model of SCD. We set up and characterized the renal injury of a mouse model of massive intravascular hemolysis, triggered by injection of phenylhydrazine (PHZ). We revealed C3 deposition within kidneys of the PHZ-treated animals. It was prevented by heme scavenging with hemopexin (Hx) and reproduced by injections of free heme, thus demonstrating the importance of heme for the complement activation in vivo. SCD erythrocytes microvesicles (MVs), are a pathologically relevant source of labile heme, since they carry three times more heme on their surface compare to MVs from healthy donors. We demonstrated that MVs, generated from SCD erythrocytes, activate complement in human serum and on EC surface, in part on a heme-dependent manner. These data highlight the importance of heme as a complement activator in hemolytic diseases. Further, we found that the C3 activation fragments deposits on endothelium in vivo and on EC in vitro can be in part explained by interaction of heme with TLR4. Indeed, the use of a specific inhibitor of TLR4, TAK-242, reduced about 50% the complement deposits on EC surface and such deposits on vascular endothelium in PHZ- or heme-injected mice were attenuated TLR4-/- mice. Moreover, we found that heme/TLR4-dependent complement deposition was mediated by the rapid expression of P-selectin, which in turn, recruited C3b and C3(H2O) on the EC surface, as evidenced by real time protein interaction analyses and using of blocking antibodies. Together our results demonstrated that heme and erythrocytes MVs are the hemolysis-derived products which promoted complement activation. At cellular level, heme induced complement-activating phenotype of EC by triggering TLR4/P-selectin axis and resulting in C3 activation fragments on cell surface. Together, these studies underline the potential benefits of Hx and TAK-242 against complement activation in pathologies related to hemolysis.
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Nicolas Merle. Mechanisms of complement activation under hemolytic conditions. Immunology. Université Sorbonne Paris Cité, 2017. English. ⟨NNT : 2017USPCB076⟩. ⟨tel-02132170⟩

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