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J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry. 2011 Mar;82(3):247-53. doi: 10.1136/jnnp.2010.211144. Epub 2010 Sep 14.

Polymorphisms in complement component 3 (C3F) and complement factor H (Y402H) increase the risk of postoperative neurocognitive dysfunction following carotid endarterectomy.

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Department of Neurological Surgery, Columbia University, College of Physicians & Surgeons, 630 West 168th Street, New York, NY 10032, USA.



Up to 28% of patients undergoing carotid endarterectomy (CEA) are estimated to experience neurocognitive dysfunction following surgery. The complement cascade plays a central role in ischaemia-reperfusion injury. The authors investigated the effect of common polymorphisms in the complement component 3 (C3F) and complement factor H (CFH Y402H) genes on incidence of neurocognitive dysfunction post-CEA.


This study examined a nested cohort of prospectively recruited patients receiving elective CEA, who were genotyped for the C3F or Y402H polymorphisms. Each patient underwent a standard battery of eight neuropsychometric tests before, and 1 day and 30 days after, surgery.


57 of 142 (40%) CEA patients had at least one copy of the C3F allele (C3F+), and 17 of 137 (12%) patients had two copies of the CFH Y402H allele (Y402H++). At postoperative day 1, patients were three times (OR 3.05, p=0.045) or six times (OR 6.41, p=0.006) more likely to experience moderate-to-severe neurocognitive dysfunction if they carried the C3F+ or Y402H++ genotype, respectively. Patients with both risk genotypes had an almost eightfold risk of dysfunction (OR 7.67, p=0.046). Right-hand-dominant C3F+ subjects undergoing right-side CEA performed significantly worse on tests of visuospatial function than C3F- subjects. At day 30, C3F+ and Y402H++ genotypes trended towards significance as predictors of dysfunction (p=0.07 and p=0.22, respectively).


The C3F and Y402H polymorphisms are strong independent predictors of moderate-to-severe neurocognitive dysfunction at 1 day following CEA. Furthermore, patients undergoing right-sided CEA are predisposed to deficits associated with cortex ipsilateral to the operative carotid artery.

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