Haemolytic uraemic syndrome (HUS) accounts for the most common cause of childhood acute renal failure. Characterized by the classical triad of a microangiopathic haemolytic anaemia, thrombocytopaenia and acute renal failure, HUS occurs as a result of Shiga-toxin producing microbes in 90% of cases. The remaining 10% of cases represent a heterogeneous subgroup in which inherited and acquired forms of complement dysregulation have been described in up to 60%. Emerging evidence suggests that microbes associated with HUS exhibit interaction with the complement system. With the advent of improved genetic diagnosis, it is likely that certain cases of infection-induced HUS may be attributed to underlying defects in complement components. This review summarises the interplay between complement and infection in the pathogenesis of HUS.
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