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Rev Infect Dis. 1981 Mar-Apr;3(2):289-98.

The role of complement in the host's defense against Streptococcus pneumoniae.


In recent years there has been a growing realization that the complement systems plays an important role in the host's defense against infection and that it plays an especially critical role in both natural and acquired immunity to Streptococcus pneumoniae. The terminal components of the complement system, C3-C9, are responsible for most protective functions of the complement system. However, in order to subserve their protective functions, C3-C9 must first be activated. In vitro studies have shown that pneumococci are able to activate the terminal components of complement, C3-C9, by at least two different mechanisms, the classical and alternative pathways. Regardless of the pathway of their activation, C3-C9 produce anaphylatoxic, chemotactic, and opsonic activities in serum, each of which has the potential to play an important protective role in pneumococcal infections. Studies with experimental animals and the experience gained from study of complement deficiencies in humans have each fulfilled the promise of the in vitro studies by demonstrating that the complement system plays a biologically significant role in vivo in the host's defense against S. pneumoniae.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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