The complement system, first described more than a century ago, was for many years the ugly duckling of the immunology world, but no more. Complement in recent years has blossomed into a fascinating and fast moving field of immediate relevance to clinical scientists in fields as diverse as transplantation biology, virology, and inflammation. Despite its emergence from the shadows, complement retains an unwarranted reputation for being “difficult.” This impression derives in large part from the superficially complicated nomenclature, a relic of the long and tortuous process of unraveling the system, of naming components in order of discovery rather than in a syst- atic manner. Once the barrier of nomenclature has been surmounted, then the true simplicity of the system becomes apparent. Complement comprises an activation system and a cytolytic system. The former has diverged to focus on complement to distinct targetsbacteria, - mune complexes, and othersso that texts now describe three activation pa- ways, closely related to one another, but each with some unique features. The cytolytic pathway is the same regardless of the activation process and kills cells by creating pores in the membrane. Complement plays an important role in killing bacteria and is essential for the proper handling of immune complexes. Problems occur when complement is activated in an inappropriate mannerthe potent inflammation-inducing products of the cascade then cause unwanted tissue damage and destruction.
Table of ContentsThe Complement System: An Overview, B. Paul Morgan. Purification of Complement Components, Regulators, and Receptors by Classical Methods, Carmen W. van den Berg. Immunoaffinity Methods for Purification of Complement Components and Regulators, B. Paul Morgan. Measurement of Complement Hemolytic Activity, Generation of Complement-Depleted Sera, and Production of Hemolytic Intermediates, B. Paul Morgan. Measurement of Complement Lysis of Nucleated Cells, O. Brad Spiller. Functional Assays for Complement Regulators, Claire L. Harris. Immunochemical Measurement of Complement Components and Activation Products, Reinhard Würzner. Complement Deposition in Tissues, Antti Väkevä and Seppo Meri. Complement Regulators and Receptors in Tissues, Juha Hakulinen and Seppo Meri. Measurement of C3 Fragment Deposition on Cells, O. Brad Spiller. Screening for Complement Deficiency, Ann Orren. C1-Inhibitor: Antigenic and Functional Analysis, C. Erik Hack. Autoantibodies to Complement Components, Kevin A. Davies and Peter Norsworthy. Allotyping of Complement Components, Reinhard Würzner. Complement and Immune Complexes, Julian T. Nash and Kevin A. Davies. Knocking Out Complement Genes, Anne E. Bygrave and Marina Botto. Inherited Complement Deficiencies in Animals, Stuart Linton. Appendices. Suppliers. Sources of C Components and Anti-C Antibodies. cDNA Accession Numbers for C Components. Regulators, and Receptors. Index.