Opinion paper: Stimulation of complement amplification or activation of the alternative pathway of complement?

Mol Immunol. 2007 Sep;44(16):3862-5. doi: 10.1016/j.molimm.2007.06.146.


In this opinion paper, we suggest that the scheme of the complement system should be redrawn in order to better illustrate its potencies. This can be achieved by putting the amplification loop of the alternative complement pathway at the center of the complement system. This arrangement emphasizes that C3b molecules, generated by any pathway, can stimulate complement amplification. Furthermore, it allows one to differentiate between this type of stimulation of amplification and that driven by those immune complexes that capture dimeric C3b molecules, which are more potent C3 convertase precursors than C3b. Schemes similar to the one drawn may help to better illustrate the interplay of the pathways and convey a clearer comprehension of the mechanics of the complement system.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Complement Pathway, Alternative / immunology*
  • Complement System Proteins / immunology*
  • Humans


  • Complement System Proteins