Background: Studies have shown an association between altered expression of selectins and premature birth, early sepsis and bronchopulmonary dysplasia. Aim: To investigate the possible link between functional polymorphisms of the E-, P- and L-selectin genes and perinatal morbidity. Methods: We compared the genotype distribution of the E-selectin Ser128Arg, P-selectin Thr715Pro and L-selectin Pro213Ser polymorphisms in 125 low-birthweight singleton infants with those of 156 healthy term neonates. We also analysed the association of genotype with risk of sepsis and bronchopulmonary dysplasia. Results: We found no association between E-selectin or P-selectin polymorphisms and premature birth, nor did we find any association between E-selectin or P-selectin and early postnatal sepsis or bronchopulmonary dysplasia. Carriers of the 213Ser L-selectin allele were found to be more prevalent in low-birthweight infants, particularly in those with bronchopulmonary dysplasia. We found no association between the L-selectin polymorphism and early postnatal sepsis.
Conclusion: Our results underline the importance of L-selectin in perinatal pathology, but further studies are needed to evaluate the alteration of L-selectin levels in carriers of the 213Ser allele and their possible contribution to premature birth and bronchopulmonary dysplasia.