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The diagnostic significance of C4d deposits, as an immunohistochemical proof of complement activation, in kidney glomerular pathologies and kidney transplantation.

C4d, a split product of C4 activation in classical and lectin pathways of the complement system activation, has been regarded as a footprint of tissue damage in antibody-mediated rejection in transplantology. The introduction of C4d staining into daily clinical practice aroused an ever-increasing interest in the role of antibody-mediated mechanisms in kidney allograft rejection. However, this marker of complement activation is also important in other various kidney glomerular pathologies such as immunoglobulin A nephropathy, membranoproliferative glomerulonephritis, lupus nephritis, and others. In routine histopathological practice, C4d staining can be done by two histological methods, specifically by immunofluorescence on frozen tissue using monoclonal antibody to C4d (with the downside of unsteady availability of frozen tissue) or by immunohistochemistry using C4d antibodies on formalin-fixed and paraffin-embedded renal tissue. The aim of this narrative review is to summarize recent knowledge about the complement fragment C4d and its significance in different kidney pathologies, focusing on its immunohistochemical detection in renal tissue biopsies. We have supplemented this review with our experience with our proprietary methodology of preparation and practical use of antibodies such as anti-C4d, on a small national level. Immunohistochemical staining for C4d has revolutionized the field of renal histopathology. Despite being a simple diagnostic test, its utility can be of utmost importance, especially in a resource-poor setting where immunofluorescence and frozen tissue may not be available (Fig. 2, Ref. 53). Keywords: C4d deposition, immunohistochemistry, kidney glomerular diseases, kidney transplant, renal tubular damage.

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