DOI: 10.1097/mot.0000000000001095 ISSN:

Role of complement in humoral immunity

Manuel Alfredo Podestà, Nicholas Chun
  • Transplantation
  • Immunology and Allergy

Purpose of review

Antibody-mediated rejection (AMR) after solid organ transplantation remains an unsolved problem and leads to poor early and late patient outcomes. The complement system is a well recognized pathogenic mediator of AMR. Herein, we review the known molecular mechanisms of disease and results from ongoing clinical testing of complement inhibitors after solid organ transplant.

Recent findings

Activation and regulation of the complement cascade is critical not only for the terminal effector function of donor-specific antibodies, but also for the regulation of T and B cell subsets to generate the antidonor humoral response. Donor-specific antibodies (DSA) have heterogenous features, as are their interactions with the complement system. Clinical testing of complement inhibitors in transplant patients have shown good safety profiles but mixed efficacy to date.


The complement cascade is a critical mediator of AMR and clinical trials have shown early promising results. With the steady emergence of novel complement inhibitors and our greater understanding of the molecular mechanisms linking complement and AMR, there is greater optimism now for new prognostic and therapeutic tools to deploy in transplant patients with AMR.

More from our Archive