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Complement factor I deficiency
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Reviewed September 2010
What is complement factor I deficiency?
Complement factor I deficiency is a disorder that affects the immune system. People with this condition are prone to recurrent infections, including infections of the upper respiratory tract, ears, skin, and urinary tract. They may also contract more serious infections such as pneumonia, meningitis, and sepsis, which may be life-threatening.
Some people with complement factor I deficiency have a kidney disorder called glomerulonephritis with isolated C3 deposits. Complement factor I deficiency can also be associated with autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis or systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Autoimmune disorders occur when the immune system malfunctions and attacks the body's tissues and organs.
How common is complement factor I deficiency?
Complement factor I deficiency is a rare disorder; its exact prevalence is unknown. At least 38 cases have been reported in the medical literature.
What genes are related to complement factor I deficiency?
Complement factor I deficiency is caused by mutations in the CFI gene. This gene provides instructions for making a protein called complement factor I. This protein helps regulate a part of the body's immune response known as the complement system. The complement system is a group of proteins that work together to destroy foreign invaders (such as bacteria and viruses), trigger inflammation, and remove debris from cells and tissues. This system must be carefully regulated so it targets only unwanted materials and does not attack the body's healthy cells. Complement factor I and several related proteins protect healthy cells by preventing activation of the complement system when it is not needed.
Mutations in the CFI gene that cause complement factor I deficiency result in abnormal, nonfunctional, or absent complement factor I. The lack (deficiency) of functional complement factor I protein allows uncontrolled activation of the complement system. The unregulated activity of the complement system decreases blood levels of another complement protein called C3, reducing the immune system's ability to fight infections. In addition, the immune system may malfunction and attack its own tissues, resulting in autoimmune disorders.
Read more about the CFI gene.
How do people inherit complement factor I deficiency?
This condition is inherited in an autosomal recessive pattern, which means both copies of the gene in each cell have mutations. The parents of an individual with an autosomal recessive condition each carry one copy of the mutated gene, but they typically do not show signs and symptoms of the condition.
Where can I find information about diagnosis or management of complement factor I deficiency?
These resources address the diagnosis or management of complement factor I deficiency and may include treatment providers.
To locate a healthcare provider, see How can I find a genetics professional in my area? in the Handbook.
Where can I find additional information about complement factor I deficiency?
You may find the following resources about complement factor I deficiency helpful. These materials are written for the general public.
You may also be interested in these resources, which are designed for healthcare professionals and researchers.
What other names do people use for complement factor I deficiency?
What if I still have specific questions about complement factor I deficiency?
Where can I find general information about genetic conditions?
The Handbook provides basic information about genetics in clear language.
These links provide additional genetics resources that may be useful.
What glossary definitions help with understanding complement factor I deficiency?
arthritis ; autoimmune ; autosomal ; autosomal recessive ; bacteria ; cell ; complement protein ; deficiency ; factor I ; gene ; immune response ; immune system ; inflammation ; inherited ; kidney ; pneumonia ; prevalence ; protein ; recessive ; respiratory ; sepsis
You may find definitions for these and many other terms in the Genetics Home Reference Glossary.
See also Understanding Medical Terminology.
References (7 links)
The resources on this site should not be used as a substitute for professional medical care or advice. Users seeking information about a personal genetic disease, syndrome, or condition should consult with a qualified healthcare professional. See How can I find a genetics professional in my area? in the Handbook.