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Am J Pathol. Jan 1993; 142(1): 179–187.
PMCID: PMC1886837

Glomerular C3c localization indicates ongoing immune deposit formation and complement activation in experimental glomerulonephritis.

Abstract

In antibody-mediated glomerular disease, deposits of C3 (C3b) are common and are degraded by factor I to C3c and C3d. However, the kinetics of C3b degradation in glomerulonephritis have not been defined. To do this, we studied three models of complement-dependent glomerulonephritis with established C3 deposits (passive Heymann nephritis, cationized immunoglobulin G membranous nephropathy, and concanavalin A-anticoncanavalin A glomerulonephritis). C3b deposition was halted by administration of cobra venom factor, and the disappearance of C3c and C3d from glomeruli was measured with specific antibodies and quantitative fluorescence densitometry. Results showed that C3c deposits were reduced by over 85% within 24 hours in all three models. C3c clearance was unaffected by site or mechanism of deposit formation. C3d deposits persisted despite lack of ongoing complement activation. In passive Heymann nephritis when disease activity was monitored by urinary C5b-9 excretion, C3c was cleared in parallel with return of urine C5b-9 excretion to normal values. We conclude that glomerular deposits of C3c are cleared within 24 hours of cessation of complement activation. Positive staining for C3 utilizing antibody specific for the C3c portion documents recent complement activation usually reflecting new immune deposit formation.

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Selected References

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