Mannose-binding lectin and the balance between immune protection and complication

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The innate immune system is evolutionarily ancient and biologically primitive. Historically, it was first identified as an element of the immune system that provides the first-line response to pathogens, and increasingly it is recognized for its central housekeeping role and its essential functions in tissue homeostasis, including coagulation and inflammation, among others. A pivotal link between the innate immune system and other functions is mannose-binding lectin (MBL), a pattern recognition molecule. Multiple studies have demonstrated that MBL deficiency increases susceptibility to infection, and the mechanisms associated with this susceptibility to infection include reduced opsonophagocytic killing and reduced activation of the lectin complement pathway. Results from our laboratory have demonstrated that MBL and MBL-associated serine protease (MASP)-1/3 together mediate coagulation factor-like activities, including thrombin-like activity. MBL and/or MASP-1/3-deficient hosts demonstrate in vivo evidence that MBL and MASP-1/3 are involved with hemostasis following injury. Staphylococcus aureus-infected MBL null mice developed disseminated intravascular coagulation, which was associated with elevated blood IL-6 levels (but not TNF-α) and systemic inflammatory responses. Infected MBL null mice also develop liver injury. These findings suggest that MBL deficiency may manifest as disseminated intravascular coagulation and organ failure with infection. Beginning from these observations, this review focuses on the interaction of innate immunity and other homeostatic systems, the derangement of which may lead to complications in infection and other inflammatory states.

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