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Clin Dev Immunol. 2012;2012:962702. doi: 10.1155/2012/962702. Epub 2012 Nov 14.

Complement diagnostics: concepts, indications, and practical guidelines.

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Department of Immunology, Genetics and Pathology, Rudbeck Laboratory, Uppsala University, Sweden.


Aberrations in the complement system have been shown to be direct or indirect pathophysiological mechanisms in a number of diseases and pathological conditions such as autoimmune disease, infections, cancer, allogeneic and xenogeneic transplantation, and inflammation. Complement analyses have been performed on these conditions in both prospective and retrospective studies and significant differences have been found between groups of patients, but in many diseases, it has not been possible to make predictions for individual patients because of the lack of sensitivity and specificity of many of the assays used. The basic indications for serological diagnostic complement analysis today may be divided into three major categories: (a) acquired and inherited complement deficiencies; (b) disorders with complement activation; (c) inherited and acquired C1INH deficiencies. Here, we summarize indications, techniques, and interpretations for basic complement analyses and present an algorithm, which we follow in our routine laboratory.

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