The human cell surface complement regulatory proteins CD46 (MCP), CD55 (DAF) and CD35 (CR1) protect autologous cells from complement-mediated damage by inhibiting C3 and C5 convertases. This regulatory potential has previously been exploited in the treatment of some models of inflammatory injury by the generation of recombinant soluble (rs) proteins, such as rsCD55 and rsCD35 . More recently, we have shown that rsCD46 inhibits complement activation in the fluid phase. In this report, the ability of rsCD46, rsD55 and rsCD35 to regulate human complement activation mediated by the classical pathway in vitro was clearly demonstrated by all three soluble proteins; however, rsCD35 was a more effective inhibitor than either rsCD46 or rsCD55. A combination of rsCD46+ rsCD55 was more potent than either of these proteins alone. Cell lysis via alternative pathway activation in vitro was efficiently regulated by rsCD46 and rsCD35 to a similar extent, whereas rsCD55 was not effective. Assays of rsCD46 in vivo have previously not been possible due to difficulties in expressing sufficient quantities of protein. This limitation has been overcome and now we report the ability of rsCD46 to inhibit immune complex-mediated inflammation in a rat using the reverse passive Arthus reaction model. Administration of rsCD46 significantly reduced the size of lesion, and histological examination showed a reduction in inflammatory infiltrate and edema. These data suggest that rsCD46, in addition to rsCd55 and rsCD35, may be useful a therapeutic agent.