Patients with bone marrow failure demonstrate decreased cutaneous reactivity to human C5a

Kim B. Yancey, Leonard Bielory, Ralph Wright, Neal Young, Michael M. Frank, Thomas J. Lawley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


In vivo studies have shown that human C5a, a potent complement-derived anaphylatoxin and chemoattractant, produces immediate inflammatory reactions following intradermal injection in human skin. At concentrations within its potential physiologic range, intradermal injection of C5a elicits immediate wheal and flare reactions, increased vascular permeability, mast cell degranulation, and neutrophil-rich infiltrates. To assess the relative contribution of interacting cellular elements to C5a-induced inflammation in normal human skin, purified human C5a was tested intradermally in 8 patients with bone marrow failure (BMF). Reactions to C5a in patients with BMF were compared with responses at identical test sites in healthy volunteers and other patients with cutaneous disorders. Patients with BMF demonstrated significantly less wheal and flare reactivity following intradermal injection of C5a than controls (p < 0.05 and < 0.02, respectively). In these studies, patients with the greatest cytopenia generally showed the least cutaneous reactivity to human C5a. Biopsies of C5a test sites in patients with BMF revealed an absence of leukocytes in marked contrast to neutrophil-rich infiltrates observed at test sites in healthy volunteers. Avidin-fluorescein and/or Giemsa staining of skin biopsies revealed no difference between the number of dermal mast cells in patients with BMF and samples of normal human skin. In addition, skin test studies with histamine (2 μg) and morphine (5 μg) performed to assess cutaneous vascular and mast cell responsiveness in patients with BMF, normal volunteers, and controls with rhinitis revealed no significant differences in cutaneous reactivity to these pharmacologic agents. These in vivo studies demonstrate that patients with BMF specifically exhibit decreased cutaneous reactivity to human C5a and suggest that neutrophils make an important and an immediate contribution to inflammatory responses elicited by this anaphylatoxin.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)388-392
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Investigative Dermatology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1987

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Dermatology
  • Cell Biology


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