There was no association between genome-wide or C5-related gene variants and C5 levels; plasma CRP and C5 showed a linear relationship.
Increased levels of C5 were positively associated with future venous thromboembolic events in a nested case-control study.
The role of complement in the pathogenesis of venous thromboembolism (VTE) is unclear. We wanted to investigate (1) whether plasma complement component C5 (C5) levels are influenced by genetic variants or chronic inflammation and (2) the association between plasma C5 and risk of future VTE in a nested case-control study of 415 patients with VTE and 848 age- and sex-matched controls derived from the Tromsø Study. Plasma C5 levels were measured at inclusion. Odds ratios (ORs) with 95% confidence intervals (95% CIs) for provoked and unprovoked VTE across tertiles of C5 concentrations were estimated by logistic regression. Adjustment for C-reactive protein (CRP) served as a proxy for general inflammation. Whole-exome sequencing and protein quantitative trait loci analyses were performed to assess genetic influence on C5 concentrations. There was no association between genome-wide or C5-related gene variants and C5 levels. The association between plasma C5 levels and VTE risk displayed a threshold effect, where subjects with C5 levels above the lowest tertile had increased risk of VTE. Subjects in tertile 3 (highest C5 levels) had an age- and sex-adjusted OR of 1.45 (95% CI, 1.07-1.96) compared with tertile 1 (lowest). These statistics were more pronounced for unprovoked VTE (OR, 1.70; 95% CI, 1.11-2.60). Adjustments for body mass index and CRP had minor impact on risk estimates. The OR increased substantially with shorter time between blood sampling and VTE event. In conclusion, plasma C5 was associated with risk of future VTE. C5 levels were not genetically regulated and were only slightly influenced by chronic inflammation.