The complement system in regulation of adaptive immunity

Nat Immunol. 2004 Oct;5(10):981-6. doi: 10.1038/ni1113.


The serum complement system, which represents a chief component of innate immunity, not only participates in inflammation but also acts to enhance the adaptive immune response. Specific activation of complement via innate recognition proteins or secreted antibody releases cleavage products that interact with a wide range of cell surface receptors found on myeloid, lymphoid and stromal cells. This intricate interaction among complement activation products and cell surface receptors provides a basis for the regulation of both B and T cell responses. This review highlights fundamental events, explaining how complement links innate and adaptive immunity as well as describing more recent studies on how this large family of proteins functions locally in peripheral lymph nodes to enhance B and T cell responses.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological
  • Animals
  • Antibody Formation
  • Complement System Proteins / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Innate*
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology


  • Complement System Proteins