Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is common and the cause of significant morbidity and mortality. The replacement of functioning nephrons by fibrosis is characteristic of progressive disease. The pathways that lead to fibrosis are not fully understood, although chronic non-resolving inflammation in the kidney is likely to drive the fibrotic response that occurs. In patients with progressive CKD there is histological evidence of inflammation in the interstitium and strategies that reduce inflammation reduce renal injury in pre-clinical models of CKD. The complement system is an integral part of the innate immune system but also augments adaptive immune responses. Complement activation is known to occur in many diverse renal diseases, including glomerulonephritis, thrombotic microangiopathies and transplant rejection. In this review we discuss current evidence that complement activation contributes to progression of CKD, how complement could cause renal inflammation and whether complement inhibition would slow progression of renal disease.
Keywords: Chronic kidney disease; Complement; Fibrosis; Innate immune system; Proteinuria; Transplantation.