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J Clin Invest. 1999 Aug;104(4):431-7.

Association of mannose-binding lectin gene heterogeneity with severity of lung disease and survival in cystic fibrosis.

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Tissue Typing Laboratory, Department of Clinical Immunology, Danish Cystic Fibrosis Center, The National University Hospital (Rigshospitalet), DK-2200 Copenhagen, Denmark.


Mannose-binding lectin (MBL) is a key factor in innate immunity, and lung infections are the leading cause of morbidity and mortality in cystic fibrosis (CF). Accordingly, we investigated whether MBL variant alleles, which are associated with recurrent infections, might be risk factors for CF patients. In 149 CF patients, different MBL genotypes were compared with respect to lung function, microbiology, and survival to end-stage CF (death or lung transplantation). The lung function was significantly reduced in carriers of MBL variant alleles when compared with normal homozygotes. The negative impact of variant alleles on lung function was especially confined to patients with chronic Pseudomonas aeruginosa infection. Burkholderia cepacia infection was significantly more frequent in carriers of variant alleles than in homozygotes. The risk of end-stage CF among carriers of variant alleles increased 3-fold, and the survival time decreased over a 10-year follow-up period. Moreover, by using a modified life table analysis, we estimated that the predicted age of survival was reduced by 8 years in variant allele carriers when compared with normal homozygotes. Presence of MBL variant alleles is therefore associated with poor prognosis and early death in patients with CF.

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