Neisseria meningitidis bacteremia in association with deficiency of the sixth component of complement.
The serum of a 26-year-old black man with a recent episode of meningococcemia complicated by meningitis and arthritis was found to lack hemolytic complement activity. The sixth component of complement was not detected by functional or immunochemical assays whereas other components were normal by hemolytic assay. His fresh acute-phase serum lacked complement-mediated bactericidal activity against the homologous strain of Neisseria meningitidis, but the addition of fresh normal serum or purified C6 restored bactericidal activity as well as hemolytic activity. The absence of C6 activity could not be accounted for on the basis of an inhibitor. Opsonization and chemotaxis functioned normally. Histocompatibility typing of family members did not demonstrate evidence for genetic linkage of C6 deficiency with the major histocompatibility loci. This report represents the first published case of C6 deficiency associated with bacteremic Neisseria infections in which antimeningococcal bactericidal antibodies have been definitively demonstrated against the homologous strain in the acute phase of the illness.
Lee, TJ; Snyderman, R; Patterson, J; Rauchbach, AS; Folds, JD; Yount, WJ
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