Ischaemia/reperfusion injury (IRI) is an inevitable and damaging consequence of the process of kidney transplantation, ultimately leading to delayed graft function and increased risk of graft loss. A key driver of this adverse reaction in kidneys is activation of the complement system, an important part of the innate immune system. This activation causes deposition of complement C3 on renal tubules as well as infiltration of immune cells and ultimately damage to the tubules resulting in reduced kidney function. Collectin-11 (CL-11) is a pattern recognition molecule of the lectin pathway of complement. CL-11 binds to a ligand that is exposed on the renal tubules by the stress caused by IRI, and through attached proteases, CL-11 activates complement and this contributes to the consequences outlined above. Recent work in our lab has shown that this damage-associated ligand contains a fucose residue that aids CL-11 binding and promotes complement activation. In this review, we will discuss the clinical context of renal transplantation, the relevance of the complement system in IRI, and outline the evidence for the role of CL-11 binding to a fucosylated ligand in IRI as well as its downstream effects. Finally, we will detail the simple but elegant theory that increasing the level of free fucose in the kidney acts as a decoy molecule, greatly reducing the clinical consequences of IRI mediated by CL-11.
- Lectin pathway