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C5a, a Therapeutic Target in Sepsis

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The complement activation product, C5a, is a potent inflammatory peptide with a broad spectrum of biological functions. Plasma levels of C5a are increased in sepsis, accompanied by increased content of C5a receptor (C5aR) in various organs. In the mouse and rat models of sepsis (cecal ligation and puncture, CLP), C5a blockade by anti-C5a antibody, anti-C5aR antibody or use of a C5aR antagonist (C5aRa) significantly improved survival in CLP animals. C5a blockade in sepsis attenuated the systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS) by reducing plasma levels of IL-6 and decreasing bacteria counts in blood and organs. Anti-C5a treatment in CLP rodents markedly attenuated sepsis-induced defects in the coagulation/fibrinolytic system, while liver and kidney functions were remarkably preserved in contrast to CLP animals not receiving anti-C5a in which multi-organ failure occurs. In CLP rats treated with anti-C5a, thymus atrophy was diminished and thymocyte apoptosis was inhibited. Defective neutrophil functions (chemotaxis, phagocytosis, respiratory burst) caused by sepsis were significantly improved in CLP rats treated with anti-C5a. These data suggest during CLP-induced sepsis C5a has very harmful consequences and that its blockade might be a promising therapeutic strategy for the treatment of humans with sepsis. This review will summarize the beneficial effects of anti-C5a treatment in the rodent model of sepsis and will introduce the most recent patents on this line of research.





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Keywords: C5a; C5a receptor; Sepsis; innate immunity; neutrophils

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Pathology, The University of Michigan Medical School, 1301 Catherine Road, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109-0602, USA;

Publication date: January 1, 2006

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  • Recent Patents on Anti-Infective Drug Discovery publishes review articles on recent patents in the field of anti-infective drug discovery e.g. on novel bioactive compounds, analogs & targets. A selection of important and recent patents on anti-infective drug discovery is also included in the journal. The journal is essential reading for all researchers involved in anti-infective drug design and discovery.
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