C5-deficient AKR mouse macrophages were initially found to be refractory to activation by lipid A to mediate tumor cytotoxicity for P815 mastocytoma or L1210 mouse leukemia targets as compared with responsive C3H mouse macrophages. The lower level of tumor cytotoxicity by lipid A-activated AKR macrophages correlated with lower levels of cytotoxic nitric oxide generation as measured by nitrite end product accumulation. The refractory state of AKR macrophages was unexpectedly found to be independent of their C5 deficiency in that IFN-gamma reconstituted their response to activation by lipid A coincident with an increase in C1q mRNA synthesis. AKR macrophages were augmented in their lipid A activation by exogenous soluble C1q in the absence of IFN-gamma, which corresponded with an increased production of nitric oxide by C1q-reconstituted macrophages. In contrast, responsive C3H mouse macrophages with sufficient levels of C1q synthesis were inhibited by exogenous soluble monomeric C1q in their lipid A activation. Both AKR and C3H macrophages plated over immobilized C1q were inhibited in their lipid A activation for tumor cytotoxicity and nitric oxide generation. Our results provide evidence that C1q modulates macrophage activation by lipid A for nitric oxide-mediated tumor cytotoxicity under the influence of IFN-gamma, which stimulates C1q synthesis and secretion. These findings strongly suggest that macrophage synthesis of C1q, but not C5, is a prerequisite for their activation by lipid A.

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