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      Tipping the balance: intricate roles of the complement system in disease and therapy


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          The ability of the complement system to rapidly and broadly react to microbial intruders, apoptotic cells and other threats by inducing forceful elimination responses is indispensable for its role as host defense and surveillance system. However, the danger sensing versatility of complement may come at a steep price for patients suffering from various immune, inflammatory, age-related, or biomaterial-induced conditions. Misguided recognition of cell debris or transplants, excessive activation by microbial or damaged host cells, autoimmune events, and dysregulation of the complement response may all induce effector functions that damage rather than protect host tissue. Although complement has long been associated with disease, the prevalence, impact and complexity of complement’s involvement in pathological processes is only now becoming fully recognized. While complement rarely constitutes the sole driver of disease, it acts as initiator, contributor, and/or exacerbator in numerous disorders. Identifying the factors that tip complement’s balance from protective to damaging effects in a particular disease continues to prove challenging. Fortunately, however, molecular insight into complement functions, improved disease models, and growing clinical experience has led to a greatly improved understanding of complement’s pathological side. The identification of novel complement-mediated indications and the clinical availability of the first therapeutic complement inhibitors has also sparked a renewed interest in developing complement-targeted drugs, which meanwhile led to new approvals and promising candidates in late-stage evaluation. More than a century after its description, complement now has truly reached the clinic and the recent developments hold great promise for diagnosis and therapy alike.

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          The classical complement cascade mediates CNS synapse elimination.

          During development, the formation of mature neural circuits requires the selective elimination of inappropriate synaptic connections. Here we show that C1q, the initiating protein in the classical complement cascade, is expressed by postnatal neurons in response to immature astrocytes and is localized to synapses throughout the postnatal CNS and retina. Mice deficient in complement protein C1q or the downstream complement protein C3 exhibit large sustained defects in CNS synapse elimination, as shown by the failure of anatomical refinement of retinogeniculate connections and the retention of excess retinal innervation by lateral geniculate neurons. Neuronal C1q is normally downregulated in the adult CNS; however, in a mouse model of glaucoma, C1q becomes upregulated and synaptically relocalized in the adult retina early in the disease. These findings support a model in which unwanted synapses are tagged by complement for elimination and suggest that complement-mediated synapse elimination may become aberrantly reactivated in neurodegenerative disease.
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            CAR T cell–induced cytokine release syndrome is mediated by macrophages and abated by IL-1 blockade

            Chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) therapy targeting CD19 is an effective treatment for refractory B cell malignancies, especially acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) 1 . Although a majority of patients will achieve a complete response following a single infusion of CD19-targeted CAR-modified T cells (CD19 CAR T cells)2-4, the broad applicability of this treatment is hampered by severe cytokine release syndrome (CRS), which is characterized by fever, hypotension and respiratory insufficiency associated with elevated serum cytokines, including interleukin-6 (IL-6)2,5. CRS usually occurs within days of T cell infusion at the peak of CAR T cell expansion. In ALL, it is most frequent and more severe in patients with high tumor burden2-4. CRS may respond to IL-6 receptor blockade but can require further treatment with high dose corticosteroids to curb potentially lethal severity2-9. Improved therapeutic and preventive treatments require a better understanding of CRS physiopathology, which has so far remained elusive. Here we report a murine model of CRS that develops within 2-3 d of CAR T cell infusion and that is potentially lethal and responsive to IL-6 receptor blockade. We show that its severity is mediated not by CAR T cell-derived cytokines, but by IL-6, IL-1 and nitric oxide (NO) produced by recipient macrophages, which enables new therapeutic interventions.
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              Avacopan for the Treatment of ANCA-Associated Vasculitis

              The C5a receptor inhibitor avacopan is being studied for the treatment of antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibody (ANCA)-associated vasculitis.

                Author and article information

                Semin Immunopathol
                Semin Immunopathol
                Seminars in Immunopathology
                Springer Berlin Heidelberg (Berlin/Heidelberg )
                26 October 2021
                26 October 2021
                : 1-15
                GRID grid.6612.3, ISNI 0000 0004 1937 0642, Molecular Pharmacy Group, Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, , University of Basel, ; 4056 Basel, Switzerland
                Author information
                © The Author(s) 2021

                Open AccessThis article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.

                : 27 August 2021
                : 14 September 2021
                Funded by: FundRef http://dx.doi.org/10.13039/501100001711, Schweizerischer Nationalfonds zur Förderung der Wissenschaftlichen Forschung;
                Award ID: 31003A_176104
                Award ID: CRSK-3_196744
                Award Recipient :
                Funded by: FundRef http://dx.doi.org/10.13039/100008375, Universität Basel;
                Award ID: 3PH1062
                Award Recipient :
                Funded by: Universität Basel (Universitätsbibliothek Basel)

                complement,inflammation,autoimmune disease,hemolysis,complement therapeutics
                complement, inflammation, autoimmune disease, hemolysis, complement therapeutics


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