Junnikkala S, Jokiranta TS, Friese MA, Jarva H, Zipfel PF, Meri S.

Of over 20 nucleated cell lines we have examined to date, human H2 glioblastoma cells have turned out to be the most resistant to complement-mediated cytolysis in vitro. H2 cells expressed strongly the membrane attack complex inhibitor protectin (CD59), moderately CD46 (membrane cofactor protein) and CD55 (decay-accelerating factor), but no CD35 (complement receptor 1). When treated with a polyclonal anti-H2 Ab, anti-CD59 mAb, and normal human serum, only 5% of H2 cells became killed. Under the same conditions, 70% of endothelial-like EA.hy 926 cells and 40% of U251 control glioma cells were killed. A combined neutralization of CD46, CD55, and CD59 increased H2 lysis only minimally, demonstrating that these complement regulators are not enough to account for the resistance of H2 cells. After treatment with Abs and serum, less C5b-9 was deposited on H2 than on U251 and EA.hy 926 cell lines. A reason for the exceptional resistance of H2 cells was revealed when RT-PCR and protein biochemical methods showed that the H2 cells, unlike the other cell lines tested, actively produced the soluble complement inhibitors factor H and factor H-like protein 1. H2 cells were also capable of binding human factor H from the fluid phase to their cell surface and promoted the cleavage of C3b to its inactive form iC3b more efficiently than U251 and EA.hy 926 cells. In accordance, anti-factor H mAbs enhanced killing of H2 glioblastoma cells. Taken together, our results show that production and binding of factor H and factor H-like protein 1 is a novel mechanism that these malignant cells utilize to escape complement-mediated killing.

J. Immunol. 2000;164:6075-81.

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