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Hum Immunol. 2006 Apr-May;67(4-5):247-56. Epub 2006 Apr 17.

Mannose-binding lectin: clinical implications for infection, transplantation, and autoimmunity.

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Department of Surgery, Leiden University Medical Center, P.O. Box 9600, 2300 RC Leiden, The Netherlands.


Mannose-binding lectin (MBL) is a recognition molecule of the lectin pathway of complement and a key component of innate immunity. MBL variant alleles have been described in the coding region of the MBL gene, which are associated with low MBL serum concentration and impaired MBL structure and function. Both high and low serum levels of functional MBL have been associated with a variety of diseases and disease complications. Functioning as double-edged sword, low MBL serum levels have been shown to enhance the risk for infections. On the other hand, high MBL serum levels and high MBL activity have been associated with inflammatory diseases, transplant rejection, and diabetic nephropathy. Underscoring the Jekyll-and-Hyde character of MBL, both high and low serum MBL levels are associated with several aspects of autoimmune diseases. This review provides a general outline of the genetic and molecular characteristics of MBL and discusses MBL-disease association and its consequence in infection, transplantation, and autoimmunity.

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