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Content archived on 2024-05-29

Clinical consequences of mannose binding lectin dysfunction.

Final Activity Report Summary - MBLUKP (Clinical consequences of mannose binding lectin dysfunction)

Mannose-binding lectin (MBL) is an important component of the innate immune system which is present at birth. MBL acts to protect us from bacteria and viruses, particularly at times when other forms of protection are limited. These times are, at birth, in the first few years of life and when something goes wrong with our immune systems such as during chemotherapy for cancer, HIV infection and diseases such as cystic fibrosis. About a third of humans have low levels of this protein.

Such individuals may be liable to get infections. In this study, we looked at the role of MBL in neonates born prematurely. The project was based in Poland and the UK and examined 166 premature neonates (99 Polish and 67 British) to assess the relationship. MBL level, function and genotype were examined and related to neonatal susceptibility to infection. Our initial results indicate that in very premature babies, MBL deficiency is a risk factor for infection. Furthermore all babies in the first few days of life have low MBL levels and this may explain why so many infections occur in the first week of life in premature babies. MBL replacement therapy will be available in the next few years. This group of patients may benefit from such therapy.