Biological Consequences of Complement Activation

Complement serves as an important mediator of the humoral response by amplifying the response and converting it into an effective defense mechanism to destroy invading microorganisms. The MAC mediates cell lysis, while other complement components or split products participate in the inflammatory response, opsonization of antigen, viral neutralization, and clearance of immune complexes (Table 13-3, page 312).

Many of the biological activities of the complement system depend on the binding of complement fragments to complement receptors, which are expressed by various cells. In addition, some complement receptors play an important role in regulating complement activity by binding biologically active complement components and degrading them into inactive products. The complement receptors and their primary ligands, which include various complement components and their proteolytic breakdown products, are listed in Table 13-4 (page 312).

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