Causes of decreased circulating complement components

What are the causes of decreased circulating complement components?

Serum complement may be decreased as a result of:

1. Decreased production, owing to either a hereditary deficiency or liver disease (complement components are synthesized in the liver).

2. Increased consumption (proteolysis) as a result of complement activation. A major cause of complement consumption is increased levels of circulating immune complexes, which activate the classical complement pathway.

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