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Complement, Total (CH50), Serum

Determination of serum total complement is used to monitor ongoing immune processes in the body as well as to identify congenital deficiencies of the complement.

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The complement system consists of a number of proteins that, when activated, serve to enhance an immune response. Complement proteins make up 10% of serum spheres. Activation of the complement system leads to the destruction of potentially inflammatory mediators, facilitates opsonization and clearance of the particles, and can lead to the immediate dissolution of altered cells of the organism and its microorganisms. The complement system can be activated by numerous immune and non-immune stimuli. Activation of the complement occurs in either the classical way or the alternative way. The components of C1-C1q, C1r, C1s, C2 and C4 are activated by the classical pathway, which is stimulated when an antigen-antibody reaction occurs. The components of the alternative pathway, C3, propertin and factor D, may be induced by mechanisms other than antigen-antibody reactions.

Concentrations of components C3 and C4 are most commonly used to evaluate the integrity of the classical and alternative pathways. Levels of other individual components of the complement can be used to monitor autoimmune activities and to identify genetic deficiencies of individual components.

The serum total complement (CH50) test evaluates the integrity of the complement cascade. The concentration of the whole complement is reduced during the acute phase of immune diseases, when the various individual components of the complement are significantly reduced. Total complement measurement is used to evaluate and monitor the response to treatment of patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), to control the deficiency of individual components of the complement, to assess cases of immune complex disease, glomerulitis, arthritis, arthritis endocarditis and in cryoglobinemia.

Possible Interpretations of Pathological Values
  • Increase: Atopic dermatitis, diabetes mellitus, jaundice (obstructive), mixed connective tissue disease, myocardial infarction (acid), rheumatoid arthritis (severe), thyroiditis, ulcerative colitis
  • Decrease: Allograft rejection, cirrhosis (advanced), glomerulonephritis (acute metastreptococcal, chronic), hemolytic anemia (autoimmune), hepatitis (chronic, active), hypogammaglobulinemia, kwashiorkor, nephritidosis, nephritis, sinus rhinitis (Streptococcus pneumoniae, Neisseria), subacute bacterial endocarditis (SBE), systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE)
Important Note

Laboratory test results are the most important parameter for the diagnosis and monitoring of all pathological conditions. 70%-80% of diagnostic decisions are based on laboratory tests. Correct interpretation of laboratory results allows a doctor to distinguish "healthy" from "diseased".

Laboratory test results should not be interpreted from the numerical result of a single analysis. Test results should be interpreted in relation to each individual case and family history, clinical findings and the results of other laboratory tests and information. Your personal physician should explain the importance of your test results.

At Diagnostiki Athinon we answer any questions you may have about the test you perform in our laboratory and we contact your doctor to get the best possible medical care.

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