• Complement system;
  • hypocomplement-emia;
  • infection;
  • kidney transplantation;
  • outcome; risk factors

The usefulness of monitoring of complement levels in predicting the occurrence of infection in kidney transplant (KT) recipients remains largely unknown. We prospectively assessed serum complement levels (C3 and C4) at baseline and at months 1 and 6 in 270 patients undergoing KT. Adjusted hazard ratios (aHRs) for infection in each posttransplant period were estimated by Cox regression. The prevalence of C3 hypocomplementemia progressively decreased from 21.5% at baseline to 11.6% at month 6 (p = 0.017), whereas the prevalence of C4 hypocomplementemia rose from 3.7% at baseline to 9.2% at month 1 (p = 0.004). Patients with C3 hypocomplementemia at month 1 had higher incidences of overall (p = 0.002), bacterial (p = 0.004) and fungal infection (p = 0.019) in the intermediate period (months 1–6). On multivariate analysis C3 hypocomplementemia at month 1 emerged as a risk factor for overall (aHR 1.911; p = 0.009) and bacterial infection (aHR 2.130; p = 0.014) during the intermediate period, whereas C3 hypocomplementemia at month 6 predicted the occurrence of bacterial infection (aHR 3.347; p = 0.039) in the late period (>6 month). A simple monitoring strategy of serum C3 levels predicts the risk of posttransplant infectious complications in KT recipients.