Partial Complement Factor H Deficiency Associates with C3 Glomerulopathy and Thrombotic Microangiopathy.
ABSTRACT: The complement-mediated renal diseases C3 glomerulopathy (C3G) and atypical hemolytic uremic syndrome (aHUS) strongly associate with inherited and acquired abnormalities in the regulation of the complement alternative pathway (AP). The major negative regulator of the AP is the plasma protein complement factor H (FH). Abnormalities in FH result in uncontrolled activation of C3 through the AP and associate with susceptibility to both C3G and aHUS. Although previously developed FH-deficient animal models have provided important insights into the mechanisms underlying susceptibility to these unique phenotypes, these models do not entirely reproduce the clinical observations. FH is predominantly synthesized in the liver. We generated mice with hepatocyte-specific FH deficiency and showed that these animals have reduced plasma FH levels with secondary reduction in plasma C3. Unlike mice with complete FH deficiency, hepatocyte-specific FH-deficient animals developed neither plasma C5 depletion nor accumulation of C3 along the glomerular basement membrane. In contrast, subtotal FH deficiency associated with mesangial C3 accumulation consistent with C3G. Although there was no evidence of spontaneous thrombotic microangiopathy, the hepatocyte-specific FH-deficient animals developed severe C5-dependent thrombotic microangiopathy after induction of complement activation within the kidney by accelerated serum nephrotoxic nephritis. Taken together, our data indicate that subtotal FH deficiency can give rise to either spontaneous C3G or aHUS after a complement-activating trigger within the kidney and that the latter is C5 dependent.
Project description:Gene variants in the alternative pathway of the complement system strongly associate with atypical hemolytic uremic syndrome (aHUS), presumably by predisposing to increased complement activation within the kidney. Complement factor H (CFH) is the major regulator of complement activation through the alternative pathway. Factor H-deficient mice transgenically expressing a mutant CFH protein (Cfh(-/-).FH?16-20) that functionally mimics the CFH mutations reported in aHUS patients spontaneously develop thrombotic microangiopathy. To investigate the role of complement C5 activation in this aHUS model, we generated C5-deficient Cfh(-/-).FH?16-20 mice. Both C5-sufficient and C5-deficient Cfh(-/-).FH?16-20 mice had abnormal C3 deposition within the kidney, but spontaneous aHUS did not develop in any of the C5-deficient mice. Furthermore, although Cfh(-/-).FH?16-20 animals demonstrated marked hypersensitivity to experimentally triggered renal injury, animals with concomitant C5 deficiency did not. These data demonstrate a critical role for C5 activation in both spontaneous aHUS and experimentally triggered renal injury in animals with defective complement factor H function. This study provides a rationale to investigate therapeutic inhibition of C5 in human aHUS.
Project description:Atypical hemolytic uremic syndrome (aHUS) is frequently associated in humans with loss-of-function mutations in complement-regulating proteins or gain-of-function mutations in complement-activating proteins. Thus, aHUS provides an archetypal complement-mediated disease with which to model new therapeutic strategies and treatments. Herein, we show that, when transferred to mice, an aHUS-associated gain-of-function change (D1115N) to the complement-activation protein C3 results in aHUS. Homozygous C3 p.D1115N (C3KI) mice developed spontaneous chronic thrombotic microangiopathy together with hematuria, thrombocytopenia, elevated creatinine, and evidence of hemolysis. Mice with active disease had reduced plasma C3 with C3 fragment and C9 deposition within the kidney. Therapeutic blockade or genetic deletion of C5, a protein downstream of C3 in the complement cascade, protected homozygous C3KI mice from thrombotic microangiopathy and aHUS. Thus, our data provide in vivo modeling evidence that gain-of-function changes in complement C3 drive aHUS. They also show that long-term C5 deficiency is not accompanied by development of other renal complications (such as C3 glomerulopathy) despite sustained dysregulation of C3. Our results suggest that this preclinical model will allow testing of novel complement inhibitors with the aim of developing precisely targeted therapeutics that could have application in many complement-mediated diseases.
Project description:Genetic alterations in the complement system have been linked to a variety of diseases, including atypical hemolytic uremic syndrome (aHUS), C3 glomerulopathy (C3G), and age-related macular degeneration (AMD). We performed sequence analysis of the complement genes complement factor H (CFH), complement factor I (CFI), and complement C3 (C3) in 866 aHUS/C3G and 697 AMD patients. In total, we identified 505 low-frequency alleles, representing 121 unique variants, of which 51 are novel. CFH contained the largest number of unique low-frequency variants (n?=?64; 53%), followed by C3 (n?=?32; 26%) and CFI (n?=?25; 21%). A substantial number of variants were found in both patients groups (n?=?48; 40%), while 41 (34%) variants were found only in aHUS/C3G and 32 (26%) variants were AMD specific. Genotype-phenotype correlations between the disease groups identified a higher frequency of protein altering alleles in short consensus repeat 20 (SCR20) of factor H (FH), and in the serine protease domain of factor I (FI) in aHUS/C3G patients. In AMD, a higher frequency of protein-altering alleles was observed in SCR3, SCR5, and SCR7 of FH, the SRCR domain of FI, and in the MG3 domain of C3. In conclusion, we observed a substantial overlap of variants between aHUS/C3G and AMD; however, there is a distinct clustering of variants within specific domains.
Project description:Therapeutic complement inhibition is a major focus for novel drug development. Of upstream targets, factor D (FD) is appealing because it circulates in plasma at low concentrations and has a single function: to cleave factor B to generate C3 convertase of the alternative pathway (AP). Mice with a targeted deletion of factor H (FH; Cfh-/- mice) develop C3 glomerulopathy (C3G) due to uncontrolled AP activity. To assess the impact of FD inhibition, we studied Cfh-/- Cfd-/- mice. We show that C3G in Cfh-/- mice is not rescued by removing FD. We used serum from Cfh-/- Cfd-/- mice to demonstrate that residual AP function occurs even when both FD and FH are missing and that hemolytic activity is present due to the action of C3(H2O). We propose that uncontrolled tick-over leads to slow activation of the AP in Cfh-/- Cfd-/- mice and that a minimal threshold of FH is necessary if tissue deposition of C3 is to be prevented. The FD/FH ratio dictates serum C3 level and renal C3b deposition. In C3G patients with chronic renal disease, the FD/FH ratio correlates inversely with C3 and C5 serum levels, suggesting that continuous AP control may be difficult to achieve by targeting FD.
Project description:C3 glomerulopathy (C3G) results from acquired or genetic abnormalities in the complement alternative pathway (AP). C3G with monoclonal immunoglobulin (MIg-C3G) was recently included in the spectrum of "monoclonal gammopathy of renal significance." However, mechanisms of complement dysregulation in MIg-C3G are not described and the pathogenic effect of the monoclonal immunoglobulin is not understood. The purpose of this study was to investigate the mechanisms of complement dysregulation in a cohort of 41 patients with MIg-C3G. Low C3 level and elevated sC5b-9, both biomarkers of C3 and C5 convertase activation, were present in 44 and 78% of patients, respectively. Rare pathogenic variants were identified in 2/28 (7%) tested patients suggesting that the disease is acquired in a large majority of patients. Anti-complement auto-antibodies were found in 20/41 (49%) patients, including anti-FH (17%), anti-CR1 (27%), anti-FI (5%) auto-antibodies, and C3 Nephritic Factor (7%) and were polyclonal in 77% of patients. Using cofactor assay, the regulation of the AP was altered in presence of purified IgG from 3/9 and 4/7 patients with anti-FH or anti-CR1 antibodies respectively. By using fluid and solid phase AP activation, we showed that total purified IgG of 22/34 (65%) MIg-C3G patients were able to enhance C3 convertase activity. In five documented cases, we showed that the C3 convertase enhancement was mostly due to the monoclonal immunoglobulin, thus paving the way for a new mechanism of complement dysregulation in C3G. All together the results highlight the contribution of both polyclonal and monoclonal Ig in MIg-C3G. They provide direct insights to treatment approaches and opened up a potential way to a personalized therapeutic strategy based on chemotherapy adapted to the B cell clone or immunosuppressive therapy.
Project description:The complement factor H (FH) mutation R1210C, which was described in association with atypical hemolytic uremic syndrome (aHUS), also confers high risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and associates with C3 glomerulopathy (C3G). To reveal the molecular basis of these associations and to provide insight into what determines the disease phenotype in FH-R1210C carriers, we identified FH-R1210C carriers in our aHUS, C3G, and AMD cohorts. Disease status, determined in patients and relatives, revealed an absence of AMD phenotypes in the aHUS cohort and, vice versa, a lack of renal disease in the AMD cohort. These findings were consistent with differences in the R1210C-independent overall risk for aHUS and AMD between mutation carriers developing one pathology or the other. R1210C is an unusual mutation that generates covalent complexes between FH and HSA. Using purified FH proteins and surface plasmon resonance analyses, we demonstrated that formation of these FH-HSA complexes impairs accessibility to all FH functional domains. These data suggest that R1210C is a unique C-terminal FH mutation that behaves as a partial FH deficiency, predisposing individuals to diverse pathologies with distinct underlying pathogenic mechanisms; the final disease outcome is then determined by R1210C-independent genetic risk factors.
Project description:Background C3 glomerulopathy (C3G) is a life-threatening kidney disease caused by dysregulation of the alternative pathway of complement (AP) activation. No approved specific therapy is available for C3G, although an anti-C5 mAb has been used off-label in some patients with C3G, with mixed results. Thus, there is an unmet medical need to develop other inhibitors of complement for C3G.Methods We used a murine model of lethal C3G to test the potential efficacy of an Fc fusion protein of complement receptor of the Ig superfamily (CRIg-Fc) in the treatment of C3G. CRIg-Fc binds C3b and inhibits C3 and C5 convertases of the AP. Mice with mutations in the factor H and properdin genes (FHm/mP-/-) develop early-onset C3G, with AP consumption, high proteinuria, and lethal crescentic GN.Results Treatment of FHm/mP-/- mice with CRIg-Fc, but not a control IgG, inhibited AP activation and diminished the consumption of plasma C3, factor B, and C5. CRIg-Fc-treated FHm/mP-/- mice also had significantly improved survival and reduced proteinuria, hematuria, BUN, glomerular C3 fragment, C9 and fibrin deposition, and GN pathology scores.Conclusions Therapeutics developed on the basis of the mechanism of action of soluble CRIg may be effective for the treatment of C3G and should be explored clinically.
Project description:Atypical hemolytic uremic syndrome (aHUS) and C3 glomerulopathy (C3G) are associated with dysregulation and overactivation of the complement alternative pathway. Typically, gene analysis for aHUS and C3G is undertaken in small patient numbers, yet it is unclear which genes most frequently predispose to aHUS or C3G. Accordingly, we performed a six-center analysis of 610 rare genetic variants in 13 mostly complement genes (CFH, CFI, CD46, C3, CFB, CFHR1, CFHR3, CFHR4, CFHR5, CFP, PLG, DGKE, and THBD) from >3500 patients with aHUS and C3G. We report 371 novel rare variants (RVs) for aHUS and 82 for C3G. Our new interactive Database of Complement Gene Variants was used to extract allele frequency data for these 13 genes using the Exome Aggregation Consortium server as the reference genome. For aHUS, significantly more protein-altering rare variation was found in five genes CFH, CFI, CD46, C3, and DGKE than in the Exome Aggregation Consortium (allele frequency < 0.01%), thus correlating these with aHUS. For C3G, an association was only found for RVs in C3 and the N-terminal C3b-binding or C-terminal nonsurface-associated regions of CFH In conclusion, the RV analyses showed nonrandom distributions over the affected proteins, and different distributions were observed between aHUS and C3G that clarify their phenotypes.
Project description:Atypical hemolytic uremic syndrome (aHUS) is a rare renal thrombotic microangiopathy commonly associated with rare genetic variants in complement system genes, unique to each patient/family. Here, we report 14 sporadic aHUS patients carrying the same mutation, R139W, in the complement C3 gene. The clinical presentation was with a rapid progression to end-stage renal disease (6 of 14) and an unusually high frequency of cardiac (8 of 14) and/or neurologic (5 of 14) events. Although resting glomerular endothelial cells (GEnCs) remained unaffected by R139W-C3 sera, the incubation of those sera with GEnC preactivated with pro-inflammatory stimuli led to increased C3 deposition, C5a release, and procoagulant tissue-factor expression. This functional consequence of R139W-C3 resulted from the formation of a hyperactive C3 convertase. Mutant C3 showed an increased affinity for factor B and a reduced binding to membrane cofactor protein (MCP; CD46), but a normal regulation by factor H (FH). In addition, the frequency of at-risk FH and MCP haplotypes was significantly higher in the R139W-aHUS patients, compared with normal donors or to healthy carriers. These genetic background differences could explain the R139W-aHUS incomplete penetrance. These results demonstrate that this C3 mutation, especially when associated with an at-risk FH and/or MCP haplotypes, becomes pathogenic following an inflammatory endothelium-damaging event.
Project description:Dysregulation of the complement alternative pathway is involved in the pathogenesis of several diseases, including the kidney diseases atypical hemolytic uremic syndrome (aHUS) and C3 glomerulopathy (C3G). In a patient, initially diagnosed with chronic glomerulonephritis, possibly C3G, and who 6?years later had an episode of aHUS, a heterozygous missense mutation leading to a tryptophan to arginine exchange (W198R) in the factor H (FH) complement control protein (CCP) 3 domain has previously been identified. The aim of this study was to clarify the functional relevance of this mutation. To this end, wild-type (FH1-4WT) and mutant (FH1-4W198R) CCPs 1-4 of FH were expressed as recombinant proteins. The FH1-4W198R mutant showed decreased C3b binding compared with FH1-4WT. FH1-4W198R had reduced cofactor and decay accelerating activity compared with the wild-type protein. Hemolysis assays demonstrated impaired capacity of FH1-4W198R to protect rabbit erythrocytes from human complement-mediated lysis, and also to prevent lysis of sheep erythrocytes in human serum induced by a monoclonal antibody binding in FH CCP5 domain, compared with that of FH1-4WT. Thus, the FH W198R exchange results in impaired complement alternative pathway regulation. The heterozygous nature of this mutation in the index patient may explain the manifestation of two diseases, likely due to different triggers leading to complement dysregulation in plasma or on cell surfaces.