Mannose-binding lectin (MBL) has been shown to inhibit infection of host cells by Chlamydia pneumoniae in vitro. We studied if MBL levels and MBL2 polymorphisms associate with the presence of C. pneumoniae antibodies in vivo.
Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) of the MBL2 gene (promoter alleles H/L, X/Y and P/Q; and exon 1 variant alleles B, C and D and wild-type allele A) were genotyped and serum MBL concentrations and C. pneumoniae IgG, IgA and IgM antibodies were analysed in 889 Finnish military recruits.
An MBL level below the median concentration and the MBL2 P/P genotype were significant risk factors of IgG or IgA seroconversions or the presence of IgM antibodies during military service (adjusted odds ratio (OR) 1.5; 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.1-2.1 and OR 1.5; 95% CI 1.0-2.2, respectively). In addition, the promoter Y/Y (OR 1.6; 95% CI 1.1-2.3) and exon 1 variant allele genotypes (OR 1.4; 95% CI 1.0-2.0) were possibly associated with elevated antibodies.
These results suggest, for the first time, that low serum MBL levels and MBL2 polymorphisms may associate with elevated C. pneumoniae antibodies and seroconversions and thus support the previous findings in vitro.