Complement systems C4, C3 and CH50 not subject to a circadian rhythm

Diagnosis (Berl). 2018 Jun 27;5(2):77-82. doi: 10.1515/dx-2018-0003.


Background: The circadian fluctuations in the blood levels of selected components of the complement system are ill-defined. Some authors found nadir serum levels of C4 and C3 components, together with C3a at nighttime, while others reported insomnia when pro-inflammatory components exhibited increased serum levels. In this study, we quantitatively estimate the morning and evening daytime serum levels of CH50, C4, C3, put into context with C-reactive protein (CRP), cortisol, parathyroid hormone (PTH) and 25(OH)vitamin D at 07:00 A.M. and at 07:00 P.M.

Methods: Seven healthy adult women and 11 men who were voluntary participants agreed to a fasting venipuncture in the morning after having normally eaten through the day and in the evening. The C4 and C3 serum levels were measured on a Cobas (Roche Diagnostics, Switzerland) modular analyzer, CH50 was estimated using the COMPL300 enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) of Wieslab (Malmö, Sweden). CRP, 25(OH)vitamin D, PTH and cortisol concentrations were assessed with electro-chemiluminescence immunoassay (ECLIA) on the Roche Cobas 6000 platform; IgG was measured using nephelometry (Siemens, Germany).

Results: With the exception of higher PTH levels in the evening [3.12-5.46, 95% confidence interval (CI)] compared to the morning (2.93-4.65, 95% CI), the mean and median values of C4, C3, CH50 as well as CRP, PTH and 25(OH)vitamin D fell within the established reference intervals. Cortisol levels were measured as an internal positive control for diurnal fluctuations (morning: 294-522 nmol/L, 95% CI; evening: 106-136 nmol/L, 95% CI).

Conclusions: The concentrations of the assessed complement components C4 and C3 as well as CH50 surrogate assay did not yield significantly different values between early morning and evening. This does not exclude their participation in the circadian metabolome; this pilot study with healthy participants suggests that patients with an autoimmune disease in remission can give their blood samples independently during daytime with or without fasting.

Keywords: chronobiology; circadian rhythm; complement system.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • C-Reactive Protein / analysis
  • Circadian Rhythm / physiology*
  • Complement C3 / analysis*
  • Complement C4 / analysis*
  • Complement Hemolytic Activity Assay / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pilot Projects


  • Complement C3
  • Complement C4
  • C-Reactive Protein