Two biologically and chemically distinct anaphylatoxins (ATs) could be generated in whole human serum after removal of the AT inactivator (AI) by immune-absorption or after inhibition of AI with 1 M epsilon-aminocaproic acid (EACA). Both human ATs could be generated by treatment of serum with antigen-antibody complexes, which activate the classical complement pathway, and with inulin or yeast, both of which trigger the alternate pathway. The ATs were isolated from serum in active form and characterized as C3a and C5a.
Although human C3a had been characterized previously, C5a had not. The molecular weight of human C5a AT was 17,500; its electrophoretic mobility at pH 8.5 was –1.7 x 10–5 cm2 V–1 s–1. The minimal effective concentration in vitro was 7.5 x 10–10 M. The minimal effective doses of human C5a in producing a wheal and erythema in the human skin was 1 x 10–15 mol. The results strongly suggest a biological function for both ATs and indicate that the expression of their activity is controlled by the AI of normal blood plasma.