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The complement component C1q is known to play a controversial role in the pathogenesis of systemic lupus erythematosus, but the underlying mechanisms remain poorly understood. Intraperitoneal injection of pristane induces a lupus-like syndrome whose pathogenesis implicates the secretion of type I IFN by CD11b(+) Ly6C(high) inflammatory monocytes in a TLR7-dependent fashion. C1q was also shown to influence the secretion of IFN-α. In this study, we explored whether C1q deficiency could affect pristane-induced lupus. Surprisingly, C1qa(-/-) mice developed lower titers of circulating Abs and milder arthritis compared with the controls. In keeping with the clinical scores, 2 wk after pristane injection the peritoneal recruitment of CD11b(+) Ly6C(high) inflammatory monocytes in C1qa(-/-) mice was impaired. Furthermore, C1q-deficient pristane-primed resident peritoneal macrophages secreted significantly less CCL3, CCL2, CXCL1, and IL-6 when stimulated in vitro with TLR7 ligand. Replenishing C1q in vivo during the pristane-priming phase rectified this defect. Conversely, pristane-primed macrophages from C3-deficient mice did not show impaired cytokine production. These findings demonstrate that C1q deficiency impairs the TLR7-dependent chemokine production by pristane-primed peritoneal macrophages and suggest that C1q, and not C3, is involved in the handling of pristane by phagocytic cells, which is required to trigger disease in this model.

Original publication




Journal article


J immunol

Publication Date





1488 - 1494


Animals, Arthritis, Autoantibodies, Chemokines, Complement C1q, Cytokines, Disease Models, Animal, Interferon Inducers, Interferon-alpha, Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic, Macrophage Activation, Macrophages, Peritoneal, Mice, Inbred BALB C, Monocytes, Poly I-C, Terpenes, Toll-Like Receptor 7