Mannose-binding lectin (MBL) codon 54 gene polymorphism protects against development of pre-eclampsia, HELLP syndrome and pre-eclampsia-associated intrauterine growth restriction
Fetal Growth Retardation
Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide
Insufficient invasion of the spiral arteries by trophoblast cells is associated with the etiology of pre-eclampsia, the syndrome of hemolysis, elevated liver enzymes and low platelet counts (HELLP) and pre-eclampsia-associated intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR). Mannose-binding lectin (MBL) is a component of the innate immune system. MBL-mediated activation of the complement cascade is an important event in the destruction of invading trophoblasts. The gene coding for MBL is polymorphic, and variant alleles result in greatly reduced circulating MBL levels. The aim of this study was to test the association between an MBL polymorphism and pre-eclampsia, HELLP syndrome and IUGR. DNA was extracted from buccal swabs of 51 women with pre-eclampsia, 81 women with HELLP syndrome and 184 healthy pregnant controls. Aliquots were tested for a single nucleotide MBL gene polymorphism at codon 54 by PCR and endonuclease digestion. Homozygosity for the wild-type allele was more frequent in patients with pre-eclampsia (P = 0.04) and HELLP syndrome (P = 0.02) when compared with controls. The presence of the variant allele was more prevalent among controls than in women with pre-eclampsia (P = 0.02) or HELLP syndrome (P = 0.028). Twenty-two (55%) patients with pre-eclampsia and 43 (53%) women with HELLP syndrome delivered an IUGR neonate. MBL-54 heterozygosity was more frequent in controls (27.2%) than in pre-eclamptic women (4.5%, P = 0.025) and those with HELLP syndrome (11.7%, P = 0.05) who delivered an IUGR neonate. Genotype frequencies of neonates born to mothers in all study groups were similar. Carriage of the MBL codon 54 polymorphism protects against pre-eclampsia, HELLP syndrome and IUGR and implies that an MBL-mediated event might be involved in the pathogenesis of these disorders.