The complement system is a collection of soluble and membrane-bound proteins that together act as a powerful amplifier of the innate and adaptive immune systems. Although its role in infection is well established, complement is becoming increasingly recognized as a key contributor to sterile inflammation, a chronic inflammatory process often associated with noncommunicable diseases. In this context, damaged tissues release danger signals and trigger complement, which acts on a range of leukocytes to augment and bridge the innate and adaptive immune systems. Given the detrimental effect of chronic inflammation, the complement system is therefore well placed as an anti-inflammatory drug target. In this review, we provide a general outline of the sterile activators, effectors, and targets of the complement system and a series of examples (i.e., hypertension, cancer, allograft transplant rejection, and neuroinflammation) that highlight complement’s ability to bridge the 2 arms of the immune system.
©2020 Society for Leukocyte Biology.