Rheumatology International

, Volume 6, Issue 5, pp 221–226 | Cite as

Complement (C3) metabolism in systemic lupus erythematosus in relation to the disease course

  • A. J. G. Swaak
  • A. van Rooyen
  • C. Vogelaar
  • M. Pillay
  • E. Hack


Metabolic turnover studies of complement components (C3) provide a direct insight into the dynamics of the complement regulation (synthesis and catabolism). To obtain information about the role of the complement system in relation to the disease course in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), a prospective study was performed. The results of the C3 turnover studies were also correlated to the complement levels (C3) and to the presence of C3 conversion products (C3d) in circulation. In nearly all SLE patients (in 21 of the 26 metabolic turnover studies) a C3 hypercatabolism was found, with a quantitative difference depending on the disease phase. In the period preceding an exacerbation an impaired C3 synthesis was observed (in three of the four studies), in contrast to SLE patients in stable disease phase where in one case only a decrease C3 synthesis was calculated (1 out of 15 observations). A linear correlation was found between the serum C3-levels and the ratio of C3d/C3, suggesting that both serologic parameters are quantitatively indicative for C3 hypercatabolism. The study shows that in all SLE patients, irrespective of the disease stage, an increased C3 consumption is found, which supports the concept that a chronic inflammatory process is constantly present.

Key words

Fractional catabolic rate Synthetic rate C3 conversion products C3d 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. J. G. Swaak
    • 1
  • A. van Rooyen
    • 2
  • C. Vogelaar
    • 2
  • M. Pillay
    • 3
  • E. Hack
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of RheumatologyThe Dr. Daniel den Hoed Cancer CenterRotterdamThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Department of Auto-Immune DiseaseCentral Laboratory of the Blood Transfusion ServiceNL-AmsterdamThe Netherlands
  3. 3.Department of Nuclear Medicine and RadiopharmacologyThe Dr. Daniel den Hoed Cancer CenterNL-RotterdamThe Netherlands

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