Purpose: Human mannose-binding lectin, encoded by the MBL2 gene, is an important component of innate immunity and an important regulator of inflammatory processes. MBL2 gene polymorphisms are associated with an increased risk of neonatal infections and some data suggest a relation between the maternal MBL2 genotype and the risk of premature delivery. In this study, we evaluated whether there is an association between the fetal MBL2 genotype and prematurity.
Methods: A microarray-based on-chip PCR method was used to simultaneously detect five common MBL2 polymorphisms (codon 52, 54, 57; promoter -550, -221) in 204 DNA samples isolated from archival blood cards. MBL2 genotypes of infants born before the 36th week of pregnancy (N = 102) were compared to a control group of infants born at term after the 37th week (N = 102).
Results: The frequency of the codon 52 polymorphism was significantly higher in the pre-term group compared to the term group (10.8% versus 4.9%, P = 0.04), while the frequency of the codon 54 polymorphism was equal in both groups (11.3% versus 11.8%). Interestingly, carriers of genotypes (O/O) likely conferring deficient MBL plasma levels were more common in the group of premature birth (9.8% versus 2.9%, P = 0.05), while the promoter -550 C/C genotype was underrepresented in the pre-term birth group (24.5% versus 39.2%, P = 0.03).
Conclusion: Our data add to the knowledge about genetic predisposition to prematurity and suggest that the fetal MBL2 genotype might be an additional genetic factor contributing to the risk of premature delivery.