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J Clin Invest. 1989 Dec;84(6):1957-61.

Complete and partial deficiencies of complement factor D in a Dutch family.

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Department of Nephrology, University Hospital Leiden, The Netherlands.


A young man suffering from recurrent Neisseria infections was shown to lack detectable serum complement factor D hemolytic activity. Addition to the patient's serum of purified factor D to a final concentration of 1 microgram/ml resulted in full restoration of the activity of the alternative pathway. Using an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, it was shown that the patient's serum did not contain measurable amounts of factor D antigen either. The sister, the father, as well as the parents of the mother had factor D levels within the normal range, and the factor D level of the mother was decreased. The capacity of the patient's serum, at concentrations up to 5%, to promote phagocytosis of Escherichia coli by normal human granulocytes was low when compared to normal serum. Substitution of the patient's serum with purified factor D resulted in a full restoration of opsonic activity. This study describes the first complete deficiency of factor D, and demonstrates its possible relation to recurrent Neisseria infections.

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