Mannose-binding lectin polymorphisms in clinical tuberculosis

J Infect Dis. 2003 Sep 1;188(5):777-82. doi: 10.1086/377183. Epub 2003 Aug 8.


Mannose-binding lectin (MBL) mediates protection against infections by using the complement system, but certain microorganisms may increase infectivity by exploiting this host defense system. Thus, it has been speculated whether genetically determined low MBL levels may confer partial protection against certain intracellular microorganisms, such as Mycobacterium tuberculosis. We investigated MBL alleles in 109 culture-positive human immunodeficiency virus-uninfected patients with tuberculosis living in Denmark and 250 white control subjects. Patients and control subjects were divided into 3 different groups defined by undetectable, low, and high serum MBL concentrations, which correlates to deficient, low, and high expressing MBL genotypes. A significantly decreased frequency of patients with the low-expressing MBL genotype was observed in white patients compared to control subjects. The same tendency also was observed in patients of other ethnic origin. It may be hypothesized that heterozygosity for MBL variant alleles, which encodes low serum MBL levels, is associated with protection against clinical tuberculosis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Alleles
  • Female
  • Gene Frequency
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease*
  • Genetic Variation
  • Genotype
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mannose-Binding Lectins / blood
  • Mannose-Binding Lectins / genetics*
  • Middle Aged
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis / pathogenicity
  • Polymorphism, Genetic*
  • Tuberculosis, Pulmonary / genetics*
  • Tuberculosis, Pulmonary / microbiology
  • Tuberculosis, Pulmonary / physiopathology


  • Mannose-Binding Lectins