The Complement System in Cryoglobulinemia



Complement is part of the innate immune system and underlies one of the main effector mechanisms of antibody-mediated immunity. Among its physiological activities, complement mediates the disposal of immune complexes and the products of inflammatory injury. Accordingly, low levels of complement suggesting ongoing complement activation and consumption are a well-known phenomenon in patients with cryoglobulinemia. The consumption of complement components in serum is paralleled by the deposition of complement in affected tissues such as the kidney. Experimental data suggest that complement activation is a major factor explaining the inflammatory organ damage seen in cryoglobulinemia in vivo. However, more studies are required to clarify the pathogenic role of complement in cryoglobulinemia.


Immune Complex Complement Activation Classical Pathway Mixed Cryoglobulinemia Membranoproliferative Glomerulonephritis 


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© Springer-Verlag Italia 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Clinic for Internal Medicine and Laboratory for Clinical ImmunologyUniversity Hospital BaselBaselSwitzerland

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