Cross-talk between the complement system and endothelial cells in physiologic conditions and in vascular diseases

Fabio Fischetti, Francesco Tedesco

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The endothelial layer represents a continuous physical barrier that controls coagulation and allows selective passage of soluble molecules and circulating cells across the vessel wall into the tissue. The functional activity of the endothelial cells may be influenced by their interaction with components of the complement system. In this review we shall discuss the complex interplay that can be established between the endothelium and complement proteins or activation products. Endothelial cells may also secrete several complement components which contribute to the circulating pool. This process can be regulated by cytokines and other pro-inflammatory stimuli. In addition, complement activation products stimulate endothelial cells to acquire a pro-inflammatory and pro-coagulant status. Expression of regulatory molecules on the cell surface provides protection against an undesired attack by complement activation products. Unrestricted complement activation under pathological conditions may lead to structural and functional changes of the endothelium resulting in vascular disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)417-428
Number of pages12
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2006



  • Complement components
  • Complement regulators
  • Endothelial cells
  • Inflammation
  • Vasculitis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology

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