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Clinical and Developmental Immunology
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 962702, 11 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2012/962702
Review Article

Complement Diagnostics: Concepts, Indications, and Practical Guidelines

1Department of Immunology, Genetics and Pathology, Rudbeck Laboratory, Uppsala University, 751 85 Uppsala, Sweden
2School of Natural Sciences, Linnæus University, 391 82 Kalmar, Sweden

Received 6 August 2012; Accepted 17 October 2012

Academic Editor: Daniel Rittirsch

Copyright © 2012 Bo Nilsson and Kristina Nilsson Ekdahl. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

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.