In the course of examining polymorphonuclear leukocyte (PMN) chemotaxis in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), we have found a previously undescribed serum inhibitor of complement (C5)-derived chemotactic activity. Serum from a 25-yr-old Black female with untreated SLE, when activated with zymosan, failed completely to attract either her own or normal PMN. Incubation of normal PMN with the patient's serum did not affect their subsequent random motility or chemotactic response toward normal zymosan-treated serum (ZTS). The patient's serum, however, did inhibit the chemotactic activity of normal ZTS and of column-purified C5-derived peptide(s), but had no effect on the chemotactic activity of either the synthetic peptide, N-formylmethionyl leucyl-phenylalanine or a filtrate prepared from a culture of Escherichia coli (bacterial chemotactic factor). The inhibitory activity in the patient's serum resisted heating at 56°C for 30 min and could be separated from C5-derived chemotactic activity in the patient's ZTS (or normal ZTS that had been incubated with the patient's serum) by chromatography on Sephadex G-75. Despite its effect on C5-derived chemotactic activity, the patient's serum did not influence two other C5-derived biologic activities: PMN lysosomal enzyme-releasing activity and PMN-aggregating activity. Chromatography of the patient's serum (65% ammonium sulfate pellet) on Sephadex G-200 yielded three distinct peaks of inhibitory activity. Two were heat labile and exhibited other properties of the previously described chemotactic factor inactivators of normal human serum. The third and most active peak, however, resisted heating at 56°C for 30 min, eluted with an apparent mol wt of 50,000-60,000, and acted specifically on C5-derived chemotactic activity. This uniquely specific, heat-stable inhibitor of C5-derived chemotactic activity has been found thus far in serum from 4 of 11 patients with active SLE and may account, in part, for altered host defenses against infections caused by pyogenic microorganisms.
H. Daniel Perez, Mark Lipton, Ira M. Goldstein