Intrathecal complement activation in neurological diseases evaluated by analysis of the terminal complement complex

J Neurol Sci. 1987 Mar;78(1):17-28. doi: 10.1016/0022-510x(87)90074-8.


The terminal complement complex (TCC) was determined in plasma and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) from 208 neurological patients. Elevated CSF TCC levels were observed in higher frequencies in patients with infectious diseases (80%), radiculoneuritis (62%), multiple sclerosis (30%), and miscellaneous autoimmune diseases (27%) than in patients with miscellaneous non-inflammatory diseases (2-13%). The plasma level of TCC was significantly increased only in the infectious group. No positive correlation was observed between the plasma and the CSF TCC concentration in the whole patient population nor in subgroups divided according to blood-brain barrier function. Furthermore, the CSF TCC concentration did not correlate with the serum/CSF albumin ratio or with CSF total protein concentration when this was below 1.0 g/l. It is concluded that an elevated TCC concentration in CSF reflects intrathecal complement activation and that quantification of TCC in CSF may be a valuable supplement in the examination of neurological diseases.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Blood-Brain Barrier
  • Cerebrospinal Fluid Proteins / analysis
  • Complement Activation*
  • Complement Membrane Attack Complex
  • Complement System Proteins / analysis*
  • Complement System Proteins / cerebrospinal fluid
  • Humans
  • Nervous System Diseases / cerebrospinal fluid
  • Nervous System Diseases / immunology*
  • Spinal Puncture


  • Cerebrospinal Fluid Proteins
  • Complement Membrane Attack Complex
  • Complement System Proteins