Complement C3 serum levels in anorexia nervosa: A potential biomarker for the severity of disease?

Department of Internal Medicine, Denver Health Medical Center, Denver, CO, USA. .
Annals of General Psychiatry (Impact Factor: 1.4). 05/2011; 10(1):16. DOI: 10.1186/1744-859X-10-16
Source: PubMed


Anorexia nervosa carries the highest mortality rate of any psychiatric disorder. Even the most critically ill anorexic patients may present with normal 'standard' laboratory values, underscoring the need for a new sensitive biomarker. The complement cascade, a major component of innate immunity, represents a driving force in the pathophysiology of multiple inflammatory disorders. The role of complement in anorexia nervosa remains poorly understood. The present study was designed to evaluate the role of complement C3 levels, the extent of complement activation and of complement hemolytic activity in serum, as potential new biomarkers for the severity of anorexia nervosa.
This was a prospective cohort study on 14 patients with severe anorexia nervosa, as defined by a body mass index (BMI) <14 kg/m2. Serum samples were obtained in a biweekly manner until hospital discharge. A total of 17 healthy subjects with normal BMI values served as controls. The serum levels of complement C3, C3a, C5a, sC5b-9, and of the 50% hemolytic complement activity (CH50) were quantified and correlated with the BMIs of patients and control subjects.
Serum C3 levels were significantly lower in patients with anorexia nervosa than in controls (median 3.7 (interquartile range (IQR) 2.5-4.9) vs 11.4 (IQR 8.9-13.7, P <0.001). In contrast, complement activation fragments and CH50 levels were not significantly different between the two groups. There was a strong correlation between index C3 levels and BMI (Spearman correlation coefficient = 0.71, P <0.001).
Complement C3 serum levels may represent a sensitive new biomarker for monitoring the severity of disease in anorexia nervosa. The finding from this preliminary pilot study will require further investigation in future prospective large-scale multicenter trials.

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Available from: Philip Stahel, May 28, 2014
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    • "Recent previous studies showed that increased complement levels were related to extreme adiposity and insulin resistance [33], [34]. On the contrary, a few studies suggested complement activation in patients with very low BMI such as anorexia nervosa [35]–[37]. All these patients exhibited decreased C3 levels, which might reflect severe comorbid conditions such as malnutrition. "
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    ABSTRACT: Mesangial C3 deposition is frequently observed in patients with IgA nephropathy (IgAN). However, the role of complement in the pathogenesis or progression of IgAN is uncertain. In this observational cohort study, we aimed to identify the clinical implications of circulating C3 levels and mesangial C3 deposition and to investigate their utility as predictors of renal outcomes in patients with IgAN. A total of 343 patients with biopsy-proven IgAN were enrolled between January 2000 and December 2008. Decreased serum C3 level (hypoC3) was defined as C3 <90 mg/dl. The study endpoint was end-stage renal disease (ESRD) and a doubling of the baseline serum creatinine (D-SCr). Of the patients, there were 66 patients (19.2%) with hypoC3. During a mean follow-up of 53.7 months, ESRD occurred in 5 patients (7.6%) with hypoC3 compared with 9 patients (3.2%) with normal C3 levels (P = 0.11). However, 12 patients (18.2%) with hypoC3 reached D-SCr compared with 17 patients (6.1%) with normal C3 levels [Hazard ratio (HR), 3.59; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.33-10.36; P = 0.018]. In a multivariable model in which serum C3 levels were treated as a continuous variable, hypoC3 significantly predicted renal outcome of D-SCr (per 1 mg/dl increase of C3; HR, 0.95; 95% CI, 0.92-0.99; P = 0.011). The risk of reaching renal outcome was significantly higher in patients with mesangial C3 deposition 2+ to 3+ than in patients without deposition (HR 9.37; 95% CI, 1.10-80.26; P = 0.04). This study showed that hypoC3 and mesangial C3 deposition were independent risk factors for progression, suggesting that complement activation may play a pathogenic role in patients with IgAN.
    PLoS ONE 07/2012; 7(7):e40495. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0040495 · 3.23 Impact Factor
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    • "It had been reported that infection could rapidly lead to nutritional stress and weight loss, thereby worsening nutritional status and immunologic function [16–18]. In a prospective cohort study on 14 patients with severe anorexia nervosa having BMI less than 14.0, serum complement C3 levels were found significantly lower than in the healthy controls [19]. We found a direct correlation, though marginally insignificant, between nutritional status (BMI) and serum complement protein C3 in the arsenicosis patients (P = 0.057). "
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    ABSTRACT: Serum complement function was evaluated in 125 affected subjects suffering from drinking water arsenic toxicity. Their mean duration of exposure was 7.4 ± 5.3 yrs, and the levels of arsenic in drinking water and urine samples were 216 ± 211 and 223 ± 302 μg/L, respectively. The mean bactericidal activity of complement from the arsenic patients was 92% and that in the unexposed controls was 99% (P < 0.01), but heat-inactivated serum showed slightly elevated activity than in controls. In patients, the mean complement C3 was 1.56 g/L, and C4 was 0.29 g/L compared to 1.68 g/L and 0.25 g/L, respectively, in the controls. The mean IgG in the arsenic patients was 24.3 g/L that was highly significantly elevated (P < 0.001). Arsenic patients showed a significant direct correlation between C3 and bactericidal activity (P = 0.014). Elevated levels of C4 indicated underutilization and possibly impaired activity of the classical complement pathway. We conclude reduced function of serum complement in drinking water arsenic toxicity.
    Journal of Toxicology 03/2012; 2012:302817. DOI:10.1155/2012/302817
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