Contribution of complement system pathways to the killing of leptospira spp.

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The Complement System CS plays an important role in the immune response against leptospirosis and can be activated by the Alternative and Lectin Pathways (Innate Immunity) and by the Classical Pathway (Acquired Immunity). Here we analyzed a broad range of nonpathogenic and pathogenic Leptospira strains considering their interaction with each CS pathway. We determined bacterial survival rate and CS protein deposition in the presence of purified proteins, specific component depleted sera and NHS treated with the chelating agents EDTA inhibits all three activation pathways) or EGTA inhibits the Classical and Lectin Pathways. We suggest that the Lectin and the Alternative Pathways have an important role to eliminate saprophytic leptospires since i) approximately 50% survival of both saprophytic strains was observed in the presence of MBL-deficient serum; ii) approximately 50 % survival of L. biflexa Patoc I was observed in the presence of NHS – EGTA and iii) C1q-depleted serum caused significant bacterial lysis. In all serovars investigated the deposition of C5-C9 proteins on saprophytic Leptospira strains was more pronounced when compared to pathogenic species confirming previous studies in the literature. No difference on C3 deposition was observed between nonpathogenic and pathogenic strains. In conclusion, Leptospira strains interact to different degrees with CS proteins, especially those necessary to form MAC, indicating that some strains and specific ligands could favor the binding of certain CS proteins.
Silva PYOA, Midon LM, Heinemann MB, Vasconcelos DM, Barbosa AS, Isaac L. Contribution of complement system pathways to the killing of leptospira spp.. Microbes Infect.. 2020 Dec;22(10):550-557. doi:10.1016/j.micinf.2020.07.005.
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