Complement is a system of more than 30 serum and membrane proteins. It represents part of the non-specific humoral immune response. The immune reaction is triggered after the cascade activation of complement components. The lecture explains basic terms, complement activation pathways, regulatory components of complement, basic functions, deficiencies of complement and possibilities of laboratory diagnostics of complement.

The main components of complement are proteins C1 – C9, factors (B, D, P), inhibitors and inactivators (H, I). The main component is C3, whose fragment C3b binds to the surface of microorganisms. The final product of complement activation is a complex of proteins C5b, C6, C7, C8, C9, which is referred to as the MAC complex (membrane attack complex). Complement deficiencies relate to individual components (C2, C4, C1q) or regulatory proteins (C1 inhibitor) and are associated with specific diseases (systemic lupus erythematosus, hereditary angioneurotic edema).

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