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Immunology Laboratory

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Mannose Binding Lectin (MBL)

Please note: Mannose Binding Lectin Levels are performed by a referral laboratory. This assay is only available to members of Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

MBL is a member of the Collectin family, which are proteins characterised by the presence of collagen-like and lectin-binding domains. MBL is produced in the liver and secreted into the blood, where it constitutes an important element in innate immune defense. MBL shares functional features in common with C1q, IgM and IgG. It is associated with a serine protease (MASP); MBL associated serine protease is activated when MBL binds to microbial carbohydrate surfaces and in turn activates the lectin pathway of the complement cascade. MBL deficiencies are associated with defects of opsonisation and an increased risk of infection when the adaptive immune system is immature (in early childhood) or has been suppressed (e.g. after organ transplantation or during cancer chemotherapy), and with a poorer prognosis in cystic fibrosis. Low concentration of MBL in serum or plasma is common and does not necessarily imply the existence of any disease. The results must be interpreted alongside the patient’s clinical features. (Source:

This assay is performed at a referral laboratory (external users requiring serum MBL levels are advised to contact the referral laboratory directly):

The Department of Immunology
PO Box 894
S5 7YT

Specimen requirements

Serum 1ml; plasma is NOT acceptable



Laboratory turnaround time

28 days

Laboratory method


Reference range/units

0.6 – 4.0 mg/L

Associated tests


Shipping and storage

Internal hospital transport/courier.

Ensure delivery Monday to Friday 07:00 - 17:30.

Further information and contact details

For further information, email