Complement proteins moderate the actions of specific antibodies, aid the processing and removal of immune complexes, and modify T-cell and B-cell responses.
Complement deficiencies can be inherited, or acquired as a result of infection (e.g., recurrent meningococcal or disseminated gonococcal infection) or in conjunction with chronic rheumatologic or autoimmune disease (e.g., systemic lupus erythematosus or cryoglobulinemia).
Diagnosis is based on clinical and/or family history and characteristic hematologic findings; only a few specialized laboratories provide comprehensive diagnostics.
Suspicious presentations include meningococcal meningitis in individuals over the age of 5 years, recurrent bacterial infections, angioedema without urticaria, inflammatory disorders of the renal and ophthalmic system, and autoimmune manifestations.
Professor of Immunology
German Society of Immunology
Institute of Immunology
University of Heidelberg
MK has sat on Roche and Euro Diagnostica advisory boards; presented a lecture for Novartis; and acted as a consultant for Back Bay Life Science Advisors, Ionis Pharmaceuticals, Fresenius Care Germany, and Ablynx. MK is an author of references in this topic.
Professor Michael Kirschfink would like to gratefully acknowledge Dr D. J. Unsworth, a previous contributor to this topic.
Professor of Medicine
Adult Immunodeficiency Program
University of Colorado Denver
CK is an author of a reference cited in this monograph. CK has received speaker fees from Cention, Aventis Behring, and Bristol Myers Squibb. CK has received honorarium for speaking at the Aspen Allergy Conference, for the Colorado Allergy Society. CK ran the research program for a biotechnology company with an approximate budget of $3.5 million.
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