Long-term follow-up including extensive complement analysis of a pediatric C3 glomerulopathy cohort

Pediatr Nephrol. 2022 Mar;37(3):601-612. doi: 10.1007/s00467-021-05221-6. Epub 2021 Sep 2.


Background: C3 glomerulopathy (C3G) is a rare kidney disorder characterized by predominant glomerular depositions of complement C3. C3G can be subdivided into dense deposit disease (DDD) and C3 glomerulonephritis (C3GN). This study describes the long-term follow-up with extensive complement analysis of 29 Dutch children with C3G.

Methods: Twenty-nine C3G patients (19 DDD, 10 C3GN) diagnosed between 1992 and 2014 were included. Clinical and laboratory findings were collected at presentation and during follow-up. Specialized assays were used to detect rare variants in complement genes and measure complement-directed autoantibodies and biomarkers in blood.

Results: DDD patients presented with lower estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR). C3 nephritic factors (C3NeFs) were detected in 20 patients and remained detectable over time despite immunosuppressive treatment. At presentation, low serum C3 levels were detected in 84% of all patients. During follow-up, in about 50% of patients, all of them C3NeF-positive, C3 levels remained low. Linear mixed model analysis showed that C3GN patients had higher soluble C5b-9 (sC5b-9) and lower properdin levels compared to DDD patients. With a median follow-up of 52 months, an overall benign outcome was observed with only six patients with eGFR below 90 ml/min/1.73 m2 at last follow-up.

Conclusions: We extensively described clinical and laboratory findings including complement features of an exclusively pediatric C3G cohort. Outcome was relatively benign, persistent low C3 correlated with C3NeF presence, and C3GN was associated with higher sC5b-9 and lower properdin levels. Prospective studies are needed to further elucidate the pathogenic mechanisms underlying C3G and guide personalized medicine with complement therapeutics.

Keywords: C3 glomerulonephritis; C3 glomerulopathy; C3 nephritic factor; Children; Complement system; Dense deposit disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Complement C3
  • Complement C3 Nephritic Factor
  • Complement Pathway, Alternative
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Glomerulonephritis*
  • Glomerulonephritis, Membranoproliferative* / pathology
  • Humans
  • Kidney Diseases*
  • Male
  • Properdin


  • Complement C3
  • Complement C3 Nephritic Factor
  • Properdin