The role of mannose-binding lectin in systemic lupus erythematosus

Clin Rheumatol. 2008 Apr;27(4):413-9. doi: 10.1007/s10067-008-0838-8. Epub 2008 Jan 24.


Susceptibility to systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is associated with genetic, hormonal, immunological, and environmental factors. Many genes have been related with the appearance of SLE, including several loci that code different complement components and their receptors. Some genetic deficiencies of complement molecules are strongly associated with SLE, probably because these deficiencies could cause decreased clearance of apoptotic cell material. As a consequence of the apoptotic material accumulation, high levels of autoantigens can be presented inappropriately to the immune system in an inflammatory context, resulting in an imbalance on the mechanisms of immunological tolerance, immune system activation, and autoantibody production. Recent studies proposed a role to the mannose-binding lectin (MBL) in the SLE physiopathogenesis. This protein activates the complement system, and the presence of several polymorphisms at the promoter and coding regions of the MBL-2 gene determines alterations at the plasma levels of MBL. Some of these polymorphisms have been associated with SLE susceptibility, as well as with clinical and laboratory typical features of this disease, cardiovascular events, and infections. Besides, it has been described that the presence of anti-MBL autoantibodies in sera of SLE patients can influence MBL plasma levels and its functional activity.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Autoantibodies / blood
  • Complement System Proteins
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease / genetics
  • Humans
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / etiology*
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / genetics
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / immunology
  • Mannose-Binding Lectin / genetics
  • Mannose-Binding Lectin / immunology
  • Mannose-Binding Lectin / physiology*
  • Polymorphism, Genetic / genetics
  • Risk Factors


  • Autoantibodies
  • Mannose-Binding Lectin
  • Complement System Proteins