ABSTRACT: Complement is a major contributor to inflammation and graft injury. This system is especially important in ischemia-reperfusion injury/delayed graft function as well as in acute and chronic antibody-mediated rejection (AMR). The latter is increasingly recognized as a major cause of late graft loss, for which we have few effective therapies. C1 inhibitor (C1-INH) regulates several pathways which contribute to both acute and chronic graft injuries. However, C1-INH spares the alternative pathway and the membrane attack complex (C5-9) so innate antibacterial defenses remain intact. Plasma-derived C1-INH has been used to treat hereditary angioedema for more than 30 years with excellent safety. Studies with C1-INH in transplant recipients are limited, but have not revealed any unique toxicity or serious adverse events attributed to the protein. Extensive data from animal and ex vivo models suggest that C1-INH ameliorates ischemia-reperfusion injury. Initial clinical studies suggest this effect may allow transplantation of donor organs which are now discarded because the risk of primary graft dysfunction is considered too great. Although the incidence of severe early AMR is declining, accumulating evidence strongly suggests that complement is an important mediator of chronic AMR, a major cause of late graft loss. Thus, C1-INH may also be helpful in preserving function of established grafts. Early clinical studies in transplantation suggest significant beneficial effects of C1-INH with minimal toxicity. Recent results encourage continued investigation of this already-available therapeutic agent.This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 3.0 License, where it is permissible to download and share the work provided it is properly cited. The work cannot be changed in any way or used commercially.
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