Inherited deficiencies of complement and complement-related proteins.
The complement cascade and cell-surface proteins related to the complement system are critically important to host defense, immune complex catabolism, and possibly immunoregulation. Genetically determined deficiency states have been described for many complement proteins as well as for fluid phase and cell-borne inhibitors of the complement cascade and cellular complement receptors. Autoimmune diseases and enhanced susceptibility to infection are the dominant clinical manifestation of these deficiencies. Classical pathway deficiencies and low numeric expression of erythrocyte C3b receptors (CR1) are typically associated with autoimmune disorders, while alternative pathway, terminal component, and leukocyte iC3b receptor (CR3) defects predispose to pyogenic bacterial disease. This distinction is not absolute, however, and both classes of disease may appear in most of the reported deficiency states. Specific pharmacologic therapy exists for C1-inhibitor deficiency (hereditary angioedema). Management of other complement deficiencies currently involves sustained diagnostic suspicion and meticulous management of complicating diseases.
Fries, LF; O'Shea, JJ; Frank, MM
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