Complement activation has a role in the pathogenesis of IgA nephropathy, an autoimmune disease mediated by pathogenic immune complexes consisting of galactose-deficient IgA1 bound by antiglycan antibodies. Of three complementactivation pathways, the alternative and lectin pathways are involved in IgA nephropathy. IgA1 can activate both pathways in vitro, and pathway components are present in the mesangial immunodeposits, including properdin and factor H in the alternative pathway and mannan-binding lectin, mannan-binding lectin-associated serine proteases 1 and 2, and C4d in the lectin pathway. Genome-wide association studies identified deletion of complement factorH-related genes 1 and 3 as protective against the disease. Because the corresponding gene products compete with factor H in the regulation of the alternative pathway, it has been hypothesized that the absence of these genes could lead to more potent inhibition of complement by factor H. Complement activation can take place directly on IgA1-containing immune complexes in circulation and/or after their deposition in the mesangium. Notably, complement factors and their fragments may serve as biomarkers of IgA nephropathy in serum, urine, or renal tissue. A better understanding of the role of complement in IgA nephropathy may provide potential targets and rationale for development of complement-targeting therapy of the disease.