Evidence has been obtained for the presence in human colostrum of all nine components of complement (C), C1 through C9, and factors of the alternative pathway. Samples of colostrums collected from five women at 1–4 days after normal parturition were assayed for the haemolytic activities of individual components. As compared with normal human sera, the activities of each component ranged from 0.03 to 7% of those in sera. The activities of C4, C7 and C9 were relatively high, while that of C1 was extremely low. In most of the cases, the activities of individual components gradually increased following delivery, when expressed as the activity per unit weight (g) of protein in the colostrum. When the colostrums were treated with cobra venom factor, most of the colostrums showed 10–20% reduction in the C3 activity. This finding indicates the presence of factors such as B and D which are involved in the activation of C through the alternative pathway. The role as a defence factor of the C system in human colostrum and milk is discussed in connection with the ability of secretory IgA to react with C.

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