Serum Mannose-Binding Lectin Levels are Linked with Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) Disease


The innate immune response facilitates the quality of the adaptive immune response and is critical to an individual’s susceptibility to infection and disease. Mannose-binding lectin (MBL) is a plasma protein with anti-microbial properties that binds a wide range of pathogens to flag them for immune destruction independent of antibodies. In this study, serum MBL levels were measured in 81 children <5 years old experiencing acute respiratory syncytial virus infection and in 40 control children to determine the association with disease severity. Almost 70% of all RSV-infected children had low to intermediate MBL levels (<500 ng/ml) compared to controls, and most of the <6 months old RSV interned patients had low to intermediate levels. No differences were detected in MBL levels between case and control children <1 month old. Analysis of the T-cell compartment in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) from acute RSV-infected and control children showed that the percent CD4+ T cells was statistically lower in RSV-infected children ≥6 months old compared to controls, while the percent CD8+ T cells in RSV-infected and control PBMC was generally similar. These results suggest that low serum MBL levels may be a marker of RSV disease severity in children and that MBL may be important in limiting RSV disease pathogenesis.

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The authors acknowledge the contributions of Dr. Dean D. Erdman, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Atlanta, GA, for providing some reagents; Fabiana R. Morais from Centro Regional de Hemoterapia, USP for her technical support; Ariadne Brito for collecting part of the control samples; the laboratories of Immunology, Molecular Biology, Parasitology, Physiology and Genetics, UFU and Centro Regional de Hemoterapia, USP, for their equipments; and the health care professionals of the Hospital de Clínicas for their important contribution.

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Correspondence to Divina Aparecida Oliveira Queiróz.

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Ribeiro, L.Z.G., Tripp, R.A., Rossi, L.M.G. et al. Serum Mannose-Binding Lectin Levels are Linked with Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) Disease. J Clin Immunol 28, 166–173 (2008).

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  • Respiratory syncytial virus
  • RSV
  • mannose-binding lectin
  • MBL