Mannose-binding lectin polymorphisms and susceptibility to infection in systemic lupus erythematosus

Arthritis Rheum. 1999 Oct;42(10):2145-52. doi: 10.1002/1529-0131(199910)42:10<2145::AID-ANR15>3.0.CO;2-#.


Objective: To determine whether variant alleles in the coding portion of the mannose-binding lectin (MBL) gene are associated with increased susceptibility to systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and concomitant infections.

Methods: MBL alleles and serum concentrations were determined by polymerase chain reaction and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, respectively, in 91 Danish patients with SLE and in 250 controls.

Results: Homozygosity for MBL variant alleles was observed in 7.7% of the SLE patients compared with 2.8% of the controls (P = 0.06), while no difference was seen for heterozygosity (33.0% versus 34.4%). Homozygotes had an increased risk of acquiring serious infections compared with patients who were heterozygous or homozygous for the normal allele (odds ratio 8.6, 95% confidence interval 1.5-47.6, P = 0.01). The time interval from the diagnosis of SLE to the first infectious event was shorter (P = 0.017), and the annual number of infectious events was 4 times higher, among homozygotes (P = 0.00002). They were especially prone to acquire pneumonia (P = 0.00004). CONCLUSION; Homozygosity for MBL variant alleles may explain much of the increased risk of complicating infections seen in SLE patients. Additionally, it is a minor risk factor for acquiring SLE.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Carrier Proteins / genetics*
  • Collectins
  • Communicable Diseases / etiology*
  • Communicable Diseases / genetics*
  • Female
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease
  • Humans
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / complications*
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / genetics*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Polymorphism, Genetic*
  • Retrospective Studies


  • Carrier Proteins
  • Collectins