Complement and the central nervous system: Emerging roles in development, protection and regeneration

Martin J. Rutkowski, Michael E. Sughrue, Ari J. Kane, Steven A. Mills, Shanna Fang, Andrew T. Parsa

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


As expanding research reveals the novel ability of complement proteins to promote proliferation and regeneration of tissues throughout the body, the concept of the complement cascade as an innate immune effector has changed rapidly. In particular, its interactions with the central nervous system have provided a wealth of information regarding the ability of complement proteins to mediate neurogenesis, synaptogenesis, cell migration, neuroprotection, proliferation and regeneration. At numerous phases of the neuronal and glial cell cycle, complement proteins exert direct or indirect influence over their behavior and fate. Neuronal stem cells differentiate and migrate in response to complement, and it prevents injury and death in adult cells in response to toxic agents. Furthermore, complement proteins promote survival via anti-apoptotic actions, and can facilitate clearance and regeneration of injured tissues in various models of CNS disease. In summary, we highlight the protean abilities of complement proteins in the central nervous system, underscoring an exciting avenue of research that has yielded greater understanding of complement's role in central nervous system health and disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)781-786
Number of pages6
JournalImmunology and Cell Biology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Nov 1 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • CNS
  • complement
  • development
  • proliferation
  • protection
  • regeneration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Cell Biology


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