Mannose binding lectin (MBL) deficiency may be associated with increased susceptibility to infection and autoimmune disorders, such as systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA). In the present study, we performed for the first systematic search for mutations in all the four exons of the MBL gene using polymerase chain reaction (PCR)/single-strand conformation polymorphism (SSCP) analysis. Of 49 healthy Japanese individuals studied, only the previously reported mutation at the codon 54 (substitution from Gly to Asp; G54D) was identified. The allele frequencies of G54D in 105 healthy Japanese individuals, 95 SLE patients and 59 RA patients, were 0.233, 0.226 and 0.178, respectively, which were not significantly different. In addition, two polymorhisms at positions of -550 and -221 in the promoter region were not associated with SLE and RA. It is unlikely that MBL deficiency plays a major role in the pathogenesis of SLE and RA in Japanese.
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