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Article
August 1982

The Complement System and the SkinAn Overview

Arch Dermatol. 1982;118(8):539-541. doi:10.1001/archderm.1982.01650200007006
Abstract

At the turn of the century, Ehrlich1 concluded that lysis of bacteria by immune serum samples required the presence of two soluble factors—a specific recognition unit we now refer to as "antibody" and a nonspecific labile factor that was later to be called "complement" by Bordet. Thus, for several decades, complement was considered to be a single serum factor. Subsequently, complement has proved to be multiple factors that react in a cascade-like fashion. As of now, at least 19 known distinct proteins constitute this system. An explosive increase in our understanding of the various proteins involved, in their reactive sequences, and in the role complement plays in a variety of disease states has occurred during the past decade. Skin diseases have been no exception. Complement may be subdivided into the following three segments: (1) the classic pathway, (2) the alternative pathway, and (3) the terminal sequence (Figure). These segments

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