Ethnic differences in complement system biomarkers and their association with metabolic health in men of Black African and White European ethnicity

L M Goff, K Davies, W M Zelek, E Kodosaki, O Hakim, S Lockhart, S O’Rahilly, B P Morgan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Inflammation plays a fundamental role in the development of several metabolic diseases, including obesity and type 2 diabetes (T2D); the complement system has been implicated in their development. People of Black African (BA) ethnicity are disproportionately affected by T2D and other metabolic diseases but the impact of ethnicity on the complement system has not been explored. We investigated ethnic differences in complement biomarkers and activation status between men of BA and White European (WE) ethnicity and explored their association with parameters of metabolic health. We measured a panel of 15 complement components, regulators and activation products in fasting plasma from 89 BA and 96 WE men. Ethnic differences were statistically validated. Association of complement biomarkers with metabolic health indices (BMI, waist circumference, insulin resistance and HbA1c) were assessed in the groups. Plasma levels of the key complement components C3 and C4, the regulators clusterin and properdin and the activation marker iC3b were significantly higher in BA compared to WE men after age adjustment, while FD levels were significantly lower. C3 and C4 levels positively correlated with some or all markers of metabolic dysfunction in both ethnic groups while FD was inversely associated with HbA1c in both groups, and clusterin and properdin were inversely associated with some markers of metabolic dysfunction only in the WE group. Our findings of increased levels of complement components and activation products in BA compared to WE men suggest differences in complement regulation that may impact susceptibility to poor metabolic health.
Original languageEnglish
Early online date1 Feb 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 1 Feb 2023


  • Immunology
  • Immunology and Allergy

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