Activation of the C5/C5a/C5a receptor 1 (C5aR1) axis during allergen sensitization protects from maladaptive T cell activation. To explore the underlying regulatory mechanisms, we analyzed the impact of C5aR1 activation on pulmonary CD11b+ conventional dendritic cells (cDCs) in the context of house-dust-mite (HDM) exposure. BALB/c mice were intratracheally immunized with an HDM/ovalbumin (OVA) mixture. After 24 h, we detected two CD11b+ cDC populations that could be distinguished on the basis of C5aR1 expression. C5aR1- but not C5aR1+ cDCs strongly induced T cell proliferation of OVA-reactive transgenic CD4+ T cells after re-exposure to antigen in vitro. C5aR1- cDCs expressed higher levels of MHC-II and CD40 than their C5aR1+ counterparts, which correlated directly with a higher frequency of interactions with cognate CD4+ T cells. Priming of OVA-specific T cells by C5aR1+ cDCs could be markedly increased by in vitro blockade of C5aR1 and this was associated with increased CD40 expression. Simultaneous blockade of C5aR1 and CD40L on C5aR1+ cDCs decreased T cell proliferation. Finally, pulsing with OVA-induced C5 production and its cleavage into C5a by both populations of CD11b+ cDCs. Thus, we propose a model in which allergen-induced autocrine C5a generation and subsequent C5aR1 activation in pulmonary CD11b+ cDCs promotes tolerance towards aeroallergens through downregulation of CD40.
Research Areas and Centers
- Academic Focus: Center for Infection and Inflammation Research (ZIEL)