The complement component C3 is a fundamental plasma protein for host defense, produced largely by the liver. However, recent work has demonstrated the critical importance of tissue-specific C3 expression in cell survival. Here, we analyzed the effects of local versus peripheral sources of C3 expression in a model of acute bacterial pneumonia induced by Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Whereas mice with global C3 deficiency had severe pneumonia-induced lung injury, those deficient only in liver-derived C3 remained protected, comparable to wild-type mice. Human lung transcriptome analysis showed that secretory epithelial cells, such as club cells, express high levels of C3 mRNA. Mice with tamoxifen-induced C3 gene ablation from club cells in the lung had worse pulmonary injury compared with similarly treated controls, despite maintaining normal circulating C3 levels. Last, in both the mouse pneumonia model and cultured primary human airway epithelial cells, we showed that stress-induced death associated with C3 deficiency parallels that seen in Factor B deficiency rather than C3a receptor deficiency. Moreover, C3-mediated reduction in epithelial cell death requires alternative pathway component Factor B. Thus, our findings suggest that a pathway reliant on locally derived C3 and Factor B protects the lung mucosal barrier.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbereabp9547
JournalScience immunology
Issue number80
StatePublished - Feb 2023


Dive into the research topics of 'Lung epithelial cell–derived C3 protects against pneumonia-induced lung injury'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this