The aim of this study was to determine whether complement C3 is an indicator of coronary artery disease (CAD). We measured plasma C3 and CRP levels in 278 patients undergoing coronary angiography for typical symptoms of CAD and 269 healthy age and sex matched controls. C3 levels were significantly higher in patients compared with controls (1.15 g/l and 0.92 g/l respectively; p<0.001). In the patient group, C3 levels correlated with BMI, fasting glucose, HbA1c, fibrinogen, CRP and HDL in both men and women. CRP levels were also higher in patients compared with controls (1.14 mg/l and 0.86 mg/l respectively; p=0.005) and correlated with markers of the metabolic syndrome. In a logistic regression model including C3, smoking, hypertension, cholesterol and diabetes, C3 was independently associated with CAD with an odds ratio of 3.20 for a 1 SD increase in C3 levels. In contrast, CRP was not independently associated with CAD in a similar regression analysis. In conclusion, both C3 and CRP plasma levels are elevated in patients with symptoms of CAD. However, C3 seems to be a better indicator of CAD than CRP in this study, suggesting that C3 could be an additional marker for risk stratification in atherosclerosis.