- The IONPs activated complement, as measured by C3a, C5a and sC5b-9, and induced the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines in a particle-dose dependent manner, with the strongest response at 10 µg/mL IONPs. Complement inhibitors at C3 (compstatin analog Cp40) and C5 (eculizumab) levels completely inhibited complement activation and secretion of inflammatory mediators induced by the IONPs.
- Blockade of complement receptors C3aR and C5aR1 significantly reduced the levels of various cytokines, indicating that the particle-induced secretion of inflammatory mediators is mainly C5a and C3a mediated.
- The IONPs did not induce cell death or reactive oxygen species, which further suggests that complement activation alone was responsible for most of the particle-induced cytokines.
- Conclusion: These data suggest that the lepirudin anti-coagulated human whole blood model is a valuable ex vivo system to study the inflammatory potential of IONPs. We conclude that IONPs induce complement-mediated cytokine secretion in human whole blood.