Therapeutic control of complement activation at the level of the central component C3

Immunobiology. 2016 Jun;221(6):740-6. doi: 10.1016/j.imbio.2015.06.012. Epub 2015 Jun 10.


The increasing recognition of the complement system's association with diseases of the inflammatory spectrum and with biomaterial and transplant-related complications has generated growing interest in the therapeutic modulation of this innate immune cascade. As a central functional hub that largely drives the activation, amplification, and effector generation of the complement response, the plasma protein C3 has long been recognized as an attractive target. While pharmacological modulation of C3 activation may offer a powerful opportunity to interfere with or even prevent complement-driven pathologies, the development of C3 inhibitors has often been accompanied by concerns regarding the safety and feasibility of this approach. Although no C3-targeted inhibitors have thus far been approved for clinical use, several promising concepts and candidates have emerged in recent years. At the same time, experiences from preclinical development and clinical trials are slowly providing a more detailed picture of therapeutic complement inhibition at the level of C3. This review highlights the current therapeutic strategies to control C3 activation and discusses the possibilities and challenges on the road to bringing C3-targeted therapeutics to the clinic.

Keywords: Alternative pathway; C3; Complement; Convertase; Therapeutics.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Complement Activation*
  • Complement C3 / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Innate
  • Immunomodulation
  • Inflammation / immunology
  • Inflammation / therapy*
  • Molecular Targeted Therapy


  • Complement C3