Treatment with human complement factor H rapidly reverses renal complement deposition in factor H-deficient mice

Kidney Int. 2010 Aug;78(3):279-86. doi: 10.1038/ki.2010.132. Epub 2010 May 5.


Total deficiency of complement factor H (CFH) is associated with dense deposit disease and atypical hemolytic uremic syndrome. CFH is the major regulator of the alternative pathway of complement activation and its complete deficiency results in uncontrolled C3 activation through this pathway and secondary C3 deficiency. Plasma infusion, as a source of CFH, has been used with variable success to treat renal disease associated with its deficiency. However, the risks of volume and protein overload limit this therapeutic approach. In this study, we investigated the efficacy of a purified human CFH (hCFH) preparation in Cfh-gene knockout mice. These mice spontaneously develop both secondary plasma C3 deficiency and a renal abnormality characterized by massive accumulation of C3 along the glomerular basement membrane. The renal lesion is analogous to human dense deposit disease. Treatment of knockout mice with hCFH resulted in rapid normalization of plasma C3 levels and resolution of the glomerular basement membrane C3 deposition. Long-term treatment of mice with hCFH was not possible because of the development of an immune response against hCFH. Hence, we suggest that hCFH can be an effective alternative therapy to plasma infusions in patients with renal disease associated with CFH deficiency.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Complement Activation
  • Complement C3 / metabolism
  • Complement Factor H / analysis
  • Complement Factor H / deficiency*
  • Complement Factor H / metabolism
  • Complement Factor H / pharmacology
  • Female
  • Glomerular Basement Membrane / metabolism
  • Glomerular Basement Membrane / pathology
  • Glomerulonephritis, Membranous / complications
  • Glomerulonephritis, Membranous / drug therapy*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Time Factors


  • CFH protein, human
  • Complement C3
  • Complement Factor H