The acute-phase response (APR) is regulated by TNF-α, IL-β, and IL-6 acting alone, in combination, or in concert with hormones. The anaphylotoxin C5a, generated during complement activation, induces in vitro the synthesis of these cytokines by leukocytes and of acute-phase proteins by HepG2 cells. However, there is no clear evidence for a role of C5a or any other complement activation product in regulation of the APR in vivo. In this study, using human C-reactive protein (CRP) transgenic mice deficient in C3 or C5, we investigated whether complement activation contributes to induction of the acute-phase proteins CRP and serum amyloid P-component (SAP). Absence of C3 or C5 resulted in decreased LPS-induced up-regulation of the CRP transgene and the mouse SAP gene. Also, LPS induced both the IL-1β and IL-6 genes in normocomplementemic mice, but in complement-deficient mice it significantly induced only IL-6. Like LPS injection, activation of complement by cobra venom factor led to significant elevation of serum CRP and SAP in normoeomplementemic mice but not in complement-deficient mice. Injection of recombinant human C5a into human CRP transgenic mice induced the IL-β gene and caused significant elevation of both serum CRP and SAP. However, in human CRP transgenic IL-6-deficient mice, recombinant human C5a did not induce the CRP nor the SAP gene. Based on these data, we conclude that during the APR, C5a generated as a consequence of complement activation acts in concert with IL-6 and/or IL-β to promote up-regulation of the CRP and SAP genes.