Oligodendrocytes lack glycolipid anchored proteins which protect them against complement lysis. Restoration of resistance to lysis by incorporation of CD59

Immunology. 1992 May;76(1):140-5.


Rat oligodendrocytes, which activate the classical pathway of complement in the absence of antibody, are highly sensitive in a reactive lysis assay using human C5b6 and EDTA serum. Oligodendrocytes may be relatively deficient in glycolipid-linked complement regulatory protein(s), since digestion with phosphatidylinositol-specific phospholipase C (PI-PLC) failed to increase their sensitivity to serum, whereas complement-insensitive astrocytes, when treated with PI-PLC, became strikingly sensitive. To test the hypothesis that oligodendrocytes lack terminal complement regulatory molecule(s), human erythrocyte CD59, a recently described complement regulatory protein, was purified to homogeneity. The biological activity of the preparation was confirmed by reincorporating the protein into guinea-pig erythrocytes through its glycolipid anchor, which resulted in dose-dependent protection against human C5b6 and EDTA serum. Incorporation of 10(5) molecules of human CD59 into rat oligodendrocytes resulted in good protection against homologous human complement (76%), and significant protection against rat complement homologous to the cell (36%). Protection could be reversed using an antibody to CD59.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigens, CD / immunology*
  • CD59 Antigens
  • Cell Membrane / immunology
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Complement System Proteins / immunology*
  • Cytotoxicity, Immunologic / immunology*
  • Glycolipids / physiology
  • Humans
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / immunology*
  • Oligodendroglia / immunology*
  • Phosphatidylinositol Diacylglycerol-Lyase
  • Phosphoinositide Phospholipase C
  • Phosphoric Diester Hydrolases / immunology
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Strains


  • Antigens, CD
  • CD59 Antigens
  • Glycolipids
  • Membrane Glycoproteins
  • Complement System Proteins
  • Phosphoric Diester Hydrolases
  • Phosphoinositide Phospholipase C
  • Phosphatidylinositol Diacylglycerol-Lyase