Objective: To review the literature on mannose-binding lectin (MBL) polymorphisms and susceptibility for upper respiratory tract infection (URI) in children and adolescents.
Data sources: We searched PubMed from 1966 and EMBASE from 1974 to July 2005, using the terms respiratory tract infection, respiratory infection, upper respiratory infection, MBL, and mannose-binding lectin.
Study selection: Initially, 110 studies were identified. Two reviewers independently screened identified titles and abstracts. Potentially relevant studies were obtained and the full text examined. Inclusion criteria were human subjects, 18 years or younger, URI, and MBL polymorphisms. Seven of the initially identified studies met the inclusion criteria.
Data extraction: Information was gathered for each study on study design, population, possible confounders, and outcomes measured.
Data synthesis: Because there was significant heterogeneity between the identified studies, we had to describe the identified studies separately. The largest case-control studies (n = 3) as well as the cohort study (n = 1) suggest an association between MBL polymorphisms and URI, especially in young children. Results of the smaller studies (n = 3) are inconsistent.
Conclusions: The association between MBL polymorphisms and URI in children remains controversial. Large prospective cohort studies with regular documentation of URI and possible confounders such as atopy and environmental factors are required to establish the role of MBL polymorphisms in susceptibility for URI.