Properdin provides protection from Citrobacter rodentium-induced intestinal inflammation in a C5a/IL-6-dependent manner

Umang Jain, Qi Cao, Nikhil A. Thomas, Trent M. Woodruff, Wilhelm J. Schwaeble, Cordula M. Stover, Andrew W. Stadnyk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Citrobacter rodentium is an attaching and effacing mouse pathogen that models enteropathogenic and enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli in humans. The complement system is an important innate defense mechanism; however, only scant information is available about the role of complement proteins during enteric infections. In this study, we examined the impact of the lack of properdin, a positive regulator of complement, in C. rodentium-induced colitis. Following infection, properdin knockout (PKO) mice had increased diarrhea and exacerbated inflammation combined with defective epithelial cell-derived IL-6 and greater numbers of colonizing bacteria. The defect in the mucosal response was reversed by administering exogenous properdin to PKO mice. Then, using in vitro and in vivo approaches, we show that the mechanism behind the exacerbated inflammation of PKO mice is due to a failure to increase local C5a levels. We show that C5a directly stimulates IL-6 production from colonic epithelial cells and that inhibiting C5a in infected wild-type mice resulted in defective epithelial IL-6 production and exacerbated inflammation. These outcomes position properdin early in the response to an infectious challenge in the colon, leading to complement activation and C5a, which in turn provides protection through IL-6 expression by the epithelium. Our results unveil a previously unappreciated mechanism of intestinal homeostasis involving complement, C5a, and IL-6 during bacteria-triggered epithelial injury.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3414-3421
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Apr 1 2015


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