Increased Expression of Anaphylatoxin C5a-Receptor-1 in Neutrophils and Natural Killer Cells of Preterm Infants

Hannah Boeckel, Christian M. Karsten, Wolfgang Göpel, Egbert Herting, Jan Rupp, Christoph Härtel*, Annika Hartz

*Korrespondierende/r Autor/-in für diese Arbeit


Preterm infants are susceptible to infection and their defense against pathogens relies largely on innate immunity. The role of the complement system for the immunological vulnerability of preterm infants is less understood. Anaphylatoxin C5a and its receptors C5aR1 and -2 are known to be involved in sepsis pathogenesis, with C5aR1 mainly exerting pro-inflammatory effects. Our explorative study aimed to determine age-dependent changes in the expression of C5aR1 and C5aR2 in neonatal immune cell subsets. Via flow cytometry, we analyzed the expression pattern of C5a receptors on immune cells isolated from peripheral blood of preterm infants (n = 32) compared to those of their mothers (n = 25). Term infants and healthy adults served as controls. Preterm infants had a higher intracellular expression of C5aR1 on neutrophils than control individuals. We also found a higher expression of C5aR1 on NK cells, particularly on the cytotoxic CD56dim subset and the CD56- subset. Immune phenotyping of other leukocyte subpopulations revealed no gestational-age-related differences for the expression of and C5aR2. Elevated expression of C5aR1 on neutrophils and NK cells in preterm infants may contribute to the phenomenon of “immunoparalysis” caused by complement activation or to sustained hyper-inflammatory states. Further functional analyses are needed to elucidate the underlying mechanisms.

ZeitschriftInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
PublikationsstatusVeröffentlicht - 06.2023

Strategische Forschungsbereiche und Zentren

  • Forschungsschwerpunkt: Infektion und Entzündung - Zentrum für Infektions- und Entzündungsforschung Lübeck (ZIEL)


  • 204-05 Immunologie
  • 205-22 Klinische Immunologie und Allergologie
  • 205-31 Klinische Infektiologie und Tropenmedizin