Serum concentrations of lectin-pathway components in healthy neonates, children and adults: mannan-binding lectin (MBL), M-, L-, and H-ficolin, and MBL-associated serine protease-2 (MASP-2)

Pediatr Allergy Immunol. 2011 Jun;22(4):424-30. doi: 10.1111/j.1399-3038.2010.01104.x. Epub 2011 Jan 13.


This study aimed to measure serum concentrations of five lectin-pathway components, mannan-binding lectin (MBL), M-ficolin, L-ficolin, H-ficolin, and MBL-associated serine protease-2 (MASP-2), in healthy neonates and children, to determine if they change with age and to compare them with serum concentrations in healthy adults. Concentrations were measured in 141 preterm and 30 term neonates, in 120 children including infants and adolescents, and in 350 adults (97 for L-ficolin) by inhouse time-resolved immunofluorometric assays or commercially available enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays. The adjacent categories method applying Wilcoxon-Mann-Whitney tests was used to determine age categories where concentrations differed significantly. Displaying serum concentration vs. age, an inverted-U shape (higher concentrations in children than in neonates and adults) was found for MBL and the ficolins, and an S-shape for MASP-2. Serum concentrations of all five lectin-pathway components were significantly lower in preterm neonates <32-wk gestational age compared to older neonates, infants, and children. Only M-ficolin in children >1 yr and H-ficolin in term neonates and in children were found to be comparable with adult values. MBL, M-, L-, and H-ficolin, and MASP-2 serum concentrations show important changes with age. The respective normal ranges for adults should not be used in the pediatric population. The age-specific pediatric ranges established here may be used instead.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Child
  • Complement Pathway, Mannose-Binding Lectin
  • Diagnostic Errors / prevention & control
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Lectins / blood*
  • Male
  • Mannose-Binding Lectin / blood*
  • Mannose-Binding Protein-Associated Serine Proteases / metabolism*
  • Pregnancy
  • Premature Birth / diagnosis*
  • Premature Birth / immunology


  • Lectins
  • Mannose-Binding Lectin
  • ficolin
  • MASP2 protein, human
  • Mannose-Binding Protein-Associated Serine Proteases