Mannose-binding lectin deficiency confers risk for bacterial infections in a large Hungarian cohort of patients with liver cirrhosis

Istvan Altorjay, Zsuzsanna Vitalis, Istvan Tornai, Karoly Palatka, Sandor Kacska, Gyula Farkas, Miklos Udvardy, Jolan Harsfalvi, Tamas Dinya, Peter Orosz, Bela Lombay, Gabriella Par, Alajos Par, Timea Csak, Janos Osztovits, Ferenc Szalay, Antal Csepregi, Peter Laszlo Lakatos, Maria Papp

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Background & Aims: Mannose-binding lectin (MBL) is a serum lectin synthesized by the liver and involved in innate host defense. MBL deficiency increases the risk of various infectious diseases mostly in immune-deficient conditions. Bacterial infections are a significant cause of morbidity and mortality in liver cirrhosis due to the relative immuncompromised state. Methods: Sera of 929 patients with various chronic liver diseases [autoimmune liver diseases (ALD), 406; viral hepatitis C (HCV), 185; and liver cirrhosis (LC) with various etiologies, 338] and 296 healthy controls (HC) were assayed for MBL concentration. Furthermore, a follow-up, observational study was conducted to assess MBL level as a risk factor for clinically significant bacterial infections in cirrhotic patients. Results: MBL level and the prevalence of absolute MBL deficiency (<100 ng/ml) was not significantly different between patients and controls (ALD: 14.5%, HCV: 11.9%, LC: 10.7%, HC: 15.6%). In cirrhotic patients, the risk for infection was significantly higher among MBL deficient subjects as compared to non-deficient ones (50.0% vs. 31.8%, p = 0.039). In a logistic regression analysis, MBL deficiency was an independent risk factor for infections (OR: 2.14 95% CI: 1.03-4.45, p = 0.04) after adjusting for Child-Pugh score, co-morbidities, gender, and age. In a Kaplan-Meier analysis, MBL deficiency was associated with a shorter time to develop the first infectious complication (median days: 579 vs. 944, pBreslow = 0.016, pLogRank = 0.027) and was identified as an independent predictor in a multivariate Cox-regression analysis (p = 0.003, OR: 2.33, 95% CI: 1.34-4.03). Conclusions: MBL deficiency is associated with a higher probability and shorter time of developing infections in liver cirrhosis, further supporting the impact of the MBL molecule on the host defense.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)484-491
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Hepatology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sep 1 2010


  • Bacterial infection
  • Chronic liver diseases
  • Liver cirrhosis
  • Mannose-binding lectin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hepatology

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