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Clin Exp Immunol. 2017 May;188(2):183-194. doi: 10.1111/cei.12952. Epub 2017 Mar 24.

Production of complement components by cells of the immune system.

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Department of Rheumatology, Leiden University Medical Center, Leiden, the Netherlands.
Department of Nephrology, Leiden University Medical Center, Leiden, the Netherlands.


The complement system is an important part of the innate immune defence. It contributes not only to local inflammation, removal and killing of pathogens, but it also assists in shaping of the adaptive immune response. Besides a role in inflammation, complement is also involved in physiological processes such as waste disposal and developmental programmes. The complement system comprises several soluble and membrane-bound proteins. The bulk of the soluble proteins is produced mainly by the liver. While several complement proteins are produced by a wide variety of cell types, other complement proteins are produced by only a few related cell types. As these data suggest that local production by specific cell types may have specific functions, more detailed studies have been employed recently analysing the local and even intracellular role of these complement proteins. Here we review the current knowledge about extrahepatic production and/or secretion of complement components. More specifically, we address what is known about complement synthesis by cells of the human immune system.


cell activation; complement; human

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