Phylogenetics and Ontogenetics of the Complement Systems

  • Mark Ballow
Part of the Comprehensive Immunology book series (COMIMUN, volume 2)


The biological significance of the complement (C) systems, e.g., the classical and alternative C pathways, has recently become more fully appreciated with the recognition of a number of C deficiencies associated with disease in man and laboratory animals (see Chapters 11 and 13). Activation of the C system results in several important biological functions, including enhancement of phagocytosis, cell lysis, bactericidal activity, chemotactic factors, and anaphylatoxins, which lead to the augmentation of various effector host defense mechanisms in inflammation. Although much information is available on these C-dependent biological functions, a whole new concept is developing of the importance of the C system in specific immune responses in relation to cell-cell cooperation (Pepys, 1972), antigen focusing (Dukor et al., 1970), and secondary signals (Dukor et al., 1974). Although many questions remain to be answered, ontogenetic and phylogenetic studies of the C systems might help to determine the role of C in these new biological functions.


Complement System Hemolytic Activity Horseshoe Crab High Vertebrate Nurse Shark 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1977

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mark Ballow
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PediatricsUConn Health CenterFarmingtonUSA

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