Targeting the complement system in systemic lupus erythematosus and other diseases

Clin Immunol. 2013 Sep;148(3):313-21. doi: 10.1016/j.clim.2013.02.014. Epub 2013 Mar 5.


The importance of the complement system in the pathogenesis of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) has long been recognized. However, despite an unprecedented amount of SLE clinical trial activities ongoing at this time, complement inhibitors have been omitted from the therapeutic assault on this disease. We review data generated from murine lupus that provide scientific support for the study of human SLE. Also reviewed is the sole study of a complement inhibitor, eculizumab, performed in patients with SLE. We conclude with a review of other inflammatory diseases where ongoing programs might provide the groundwork for the development of complement inhibitors in SLE.

Keywords: Complement; Complement inhibitors; Eculizumab; Lupus nephritis; Systemic lupus erythematosus; Treatment.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / drug therapy
  • Complement Inactivating Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Complement System Proteins / physiology
  • Coronary Artery Bypass
  • Dermatomyositis / drug therapy
  • Humans
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / drug therapy*
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / etiology
  • Nephritis / drug therapy
  • Vasculitis / drug therapy


  • Complement Inactivating Agents
  • Complement System Proteins