Complement in trauma—Traumatised complement?

Markus S. Huber-Lang*, Anita Ignatius, Jörg Köhl, Marco Mannes, Christian Karl Braun

*Corresponding author for this work


Physical trauma represents a major global burden. The trauma-induced response, including activation of the innate immune system, strives for regeneration but can also lead to post-traumatic complications. The complement cascade is rapidly activated by damaged tissue, hypoxia, exogenous proteases and others. Activated complement can sense, mark and clear both damaged tissue and pathogens. However, excessive and insufficient activation of complement can result in a dysfunctional immune and organ response. Similar to acute coagulopathy, complementopathy can develop with enhanced anaphylatoxin generation and an impairment of complement effector functions. Various remote organ effects are induced or modulated by complement activation. Frequently, established trauma treatments are double-edged. On one hand, they help stabilising haemodynamics and oxygen supply as well as injured organs and on the other hand, they also drive complement activation. Immunomodulatory approaches aim to reset trauma-induced disbalance of complement activation and thus may change surgical trauma management procedures to improve outcome.

Original languageEnglish
JournalBritish Journal of Pharmacology
Publication statusPublished - 03.09.2020

Research Areas and Centers

  • Academic Focus: Center for Infection and Inflammation Research (ZIEL)


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