Preferential production and secretion of the complement regulator factor H-like protein 1 (FHL-1) by human myeloid cells

Mieke F. van Essen, Emma T.M. Peereboom, Nicole Schlagwein, Daniëlle J. van Gijlswijk-Janssen, Tessa Nelemans, Jivan V. Joeloemsingh, Cathelijne W. van den Berg, Jurriën Prins, Simon J. Clark, Christoph Q. Schmidt, Leendert A. Trouw, Cees van Kooten

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Factor H is a pivotal complement regulatory protein that is preferentially produced by the liver and circulates in high concentrations in serum. There has been an increasing interest in the extrahepatic production of complement factors, including by cells of the immune system, since this contributes to non-canonical functions of local complement activation and regulation. Here we investigated the production and regulation of factor H and its splice variant factor H-like protein 1 (FHL-1) by human myeloid cells. As validation, we confirmed the predominant presence of intact factor H in serum, despite a strong but comparable mRNA expression of CFH and FHL1 in liver. Comparable levels of CFH and FHL1 were also observed in renal tissue, although a dominant staining for FHL-1 was shown within the proximal tubules. Human in vitro generated pro- and anti-inflammatory macrophages both expressed and produced factor H/FHL-1, but this was strongest in pro-inflammatory macrophages. Production was not affected by LPS activation, but was increased upon stimulation with IFN-γ or CD40L. Importantly, in both macrophage subsets mRNA expression of FHL1 was significantly higher than CFH. Moreover, production of FHL-1 protein could be confirmed using precipitation and immunoblotting of culture supernatants. These data identify macrophages as producers of factor H and FHL-1, thereby potentially contributing to local complement regulation at sites of inflammation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number152364
Issue number3
Early online date28 Feb 2023
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2023


  • Complement
  • Factor H/FHL-1
  • Human
  • Inflammation
  • Monocyte/Macrophages


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