The complement system has historically been entertained as a fluid-phase, hepatically derived system which protects the intravascular space from encapsulated bacteria. However, there has been an increasing appreciation for its role in protection against non-encapsulated pathogens. Specifically, we have an improved understanding of how pathogens are recognized by specific complement proteins, as well as how they trigger and evade them. Additionally, we have an improved understanding of locally derived complement proteins, many of which promote host defense. Moreover, intracellular complement proteins have been identified that facilitate local protection and barrier function despite pathogen invasion. Our review aims to summarize these advances in the field as well as provide an insight into the pathophysiological changes occurring when the system is dysregulated in infection.
- complement activation
- innate immunity