C5a is a potent inflammatory mediator that binds C5aR1 and C5aR2. Although pathogenic roles of the C5a/C5aR1 axis in inflammatory disorders are well documented, the roles for the C5a/C5aR2 axis in inflammatory disorders and underlying mechanisms remain unclear. Here, we show that the C5a/C5aR2 axis contributes to renal inflammation and tissue damage in a mouse model of acute pyelonephritis. Compared with WT littermates, C5ar2–/– mice had significantly reduced renal inflammation, tubular damage, and renal bacterial load following bladder inoculation with uropathogenic E. coli. The decrease in inflammatory responses in the kidney of C5ar2–/– mice was correlated with reduced intrarenal levels of high mobility group box-1 protein (HMGB1), NLRP3 inflammasome components, cleaved caspase-1, and IL-1β. In vitro, C5a stimulation of macrophages from C5ar1–/– mice (lacking C5aR1 but expressing C5aR2) led to significant upregulation of HMGB1 release, NLRP3/cleaved caspase-1 inflammasome activation, and IL-1β secretion. Furthermore, blockade of HMGB1 significantly reduced C5a-mediated upregulation of NLRP3/cleaved caspase-1 inflammasome activation and IL-1β secretion in the macrophages, implying a HMGB1-dependent upregulation of NLRP3/cleaved caspase-1 inflammasome activation in macrophages. Our findings demonstrate a pathogenic role for the C5a/C5aR2 axis in renal injury following renal infection and suggest that the C5a/C5aR2 axis contributes to renal inflammation and tissue damage through upregulation of HMGB1 and NLRP3/cleaved caspase-1 inflammasome.
Ting Zhang, Kun-yi Wu, Ning Ma, Ling-lin Wei, Malgorzata Garstka, Wuding Zhou, Ke Li