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An overview of lipodystrophy and the role of the complement system

Corvillo, F., Akinci, B.
Molecular immunology 2019 v.112 pp. 223-232
adaptive immunity, adipose tissue, antigen-antibody complex, apoptosis, brain, complement, embryogenesis, glomerulopathy, homeostasis, inflammation, pathogens, patients, phagocytosis
The complement system is a major component of innate immunity playing essential roles in the destruction of pathogens, the clearance of apoptotic cells and immune complexes, the enhancement of phagocytosis, inflammation, and the modulation of adaptive immune responses. During the last decades, numerous studies have shown that the complement system has key functions in the biology of certain tissues. For example, complement contributes to normal brain and embryonic development and to the homeostasis of lipid metabolism. However, the complement system is subjected to the effective balance between activation-inactivation to maintain complement homeostasis and to prevent self-injury to cells or tissues. When this control is disrupted, serious pathologies eventually develop, such as C3 glomerulopathy, autoimmune conditions and infections. Another heterogeneous group of ultra-rare diseases in which complement abnormalities have been described are the lipodystrophy syndromes. These diseases are characterized by the loss of adipose tissue throughout the entire body or partially. Complement over-activation has been reported in most of the patients with acquired partial lipodystrophy (also called Barraquer-Simons Syndrome) and in some cases of the generalized variety of the disease (Lawrence Syndrome). Even so, the mechanism through which the complement system induces adipose tissue abnormalities remains unclear. This review focuses on describing the link between the complement system and certain forms of lipodystrophy. In addition, we present an overview regarding the clinical presentation, differential diagnosis, classification, and management of patients with lipodystrophy associated with complement abnormalities.