Objective: We evaluated whether women with vulvar vestibulitis syndrome (VVS) could be subdivided on the basis of genotyping the polymorphic mannose-binding lectin (MBL) gene.
Study design: DNA from 123 women with VVS was tested for a single nucleotide polymorphism at codon 54 of the MBL gene. Blood samples from 86 of the women were evaluated for ex vivo tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) and interleukin-1 receptor antagonist (IL-1ra) production in response to Candida albicans, gram-positive peptidoglycan, and gram-negative lipopolysaccharide. Associations between laboratory findings and clinical characteristics were analyzed.
Results: The variant MBL*B allele was identified in 33 subjects (26.8%). This polymorphism was more prevalent in women whose symptoms developed at their first act of sexual intercourse (primary VVS, 40.9%), as opposed to women with secondary VVS (16.3%; P = .01). Ex vivo TNF-alpha production, but not IL-1ra production, was reduced in MBL*B carriers as compared with MBL*A homozygotes (P < or = .03).
Conclusion: The MBL gene polymorphism is associated with the development of primary VVS and a reduced capacity for TNF-alpha production in response to microbial components.