Furunculosis (Boil) and Mannose-Binding Lectin Deficiency

Title: Association of furunculosis and familial deficiency of mannose-binding lectin
: Kars M, et al.
Publication: Eur J Clin Invest. 2005 Aug;35(8):531-4.

Polymorphism or different forms in the mannose-binding lecting gene reduce the levels of mannose-binding lectin in the blood, and are associated with enhanced risk of infection.

The authors wanted to examine the levels of mannose-binding lectin in a family with recurring staphylococcal infection of furuncle (boil) or carbuncle (a more severe form of boil). They took blood samples from members of this family, and found that 13 out of 28 members showed deficiency in the mannose-binding lectin levels.

Nine out of 28 family members had boil, 7 of which had deficient mannose-binding lectin (with an allele or form of mannose-binding lectin gene named pBly). This pBly allele was also found in 4 other family members are still young, and had not developed boil yet.

The authors concluded that family members that suffered from boil had different alleles of the mannose-binding lectin gene, indicating that normal mannose-binding lectin level played a relevant role in the body’s defense against staphylococcal disease.

Editor’s Note: lectin is a protein that binds carbohydrate groups, in this case mannose or a specific form of sugar.

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