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Mol Immunol. 2006 Feb;43(5):473-9. Epub 2005 Mar 21.

Association between combined properdin and mannose-binding lectin deficiency and infection with Neisseria meningitidis.

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Department of Clinical Biochemistry, Odense University Hospital, Odense, Denmark.



Individuals genetically deficient of properdin are more susceptible to meningococcal disease. Likewise low concentration or decreased biological activity of mannose-binding lectin (MBL) is associated with higher incidence of bacterial infections during childhood. In this study we report our findings in a Danish family with a remarkably high incidence of meningococcal meningitis-in total four cases, one of them fatal.


Properdin and MBL were quantified by ELISA and the properdin gene was screened for sequence variations using denaturing high-performance liquid chromatography (DHPLC) and subsequent sequencing of abnormal patterns. The MBL gene was genotyped for the three known variant alleles (B, C and D) as well as three promoter polymorphisms (-221Y/X, -550H/L and +4P/Q).


Two out of six males with undetectable properdin activity had meningitis. They had also low MBL serum levels or carried an MBL variant allele, whereas high MBL concentrations were measured in three out of four properdin deficient males--without meningitis. A splice site mutation in exon 10 (c.1487-2A>G) was found in the properdin gene and co segregated with biochemically measured properdin deficiency.


Our results indicate that a combined deficiency of both properdin and MBL increases the risk of infection with Neisseria meningitidis and stress the importance of epistatic genetic interactions in disease susceptibility.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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