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Am J Hematol. 1979;7(2):147-54.

Temperature dependent activation of the alternate complement pathway by an IgG cryoglobulin.


A patient with chronic membranoproliferative glomerulonephritis is presented whose serum contains a monoclonal IgG3 cryoglobulin. The presence of persistent hypocomplementemia suggested the possibility that the cryoglobulin, upon cold-induced precipitation, was capable of activating the complement system. Because visible cryoprecipitation commenced in vitro at 30 degrees C, the patient's serum and normal serum had been added the isolated cryoglobulin were repeatedly cooled to 30 degrees C and rewarmed to 37 degrees C. This reproduction of the in vivo counterpart of blood circulating through an extremity exposed to the cold resulted in activation of C3-proactivator (properdin factor B), C3 cleavage, and a 78% reduction in total hemolytic complement. This study demonstrates that IgG is capable of activating complement via the alternate pathway and reveals a mechanism through which this can occur in vivo; namely, by means of temperature dependent polymerization. In addition, we postulate that episodic complement activation initiated by the cryoglobulin contributed to the development of glomerulonephritis in this patient.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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