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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

HLA class II alleles associated with celiac disease susceptibility in a southern European population.

Susceptibility to celiac disease in Northern Europe is associated with the human leukocyte antigens (HLA) B8, DR3 and DQ2, which exist together on an extended haplotype. The strong predominance of this haplotype within the Northern European celiac populations, together with the linkage disequilibrium which occurs between these loci, does not allow identification of the gene(s) primarily associated with disease susceptibility. Studies from Southern Europe using both serology and examination of restriction fragment length polymorphisms (RFLP) have demonstrated associations with DR3, DR7 and DQ2, suggesting that the DQ locus is primarily involved. We investigated 43 celiac patients and 41 healthy controls from Rome, Italy, using sequence-specific oligonucleotide (SSO) probes, in conjunction with gene amplification by the polymerase chain reaction (PCR), to determine alleles at the DRB, DQA1, DQB1 and DPB1 loci: 19% of celiac patients possessed the alleles DRB1*0301 DRB3*0101, 33% DRB1*0301 DRB3*0201 and 33% of celiac patients were heterozygous for DRB1*1101-1201/DRB1*0701. The strongest association with celiac disease susceptibility was the combination of alleles DQA1*0501 DQB1*0201 (91% celiac patients vs. 12% controls; p = 0.000002). There was no additional susceptibility associated with alleles at the DPB locus. This study confirms the hypothesis that susceptibility is associated with a particular combination of DQ alleles and the ethnic variation in DR frequencies is secondary to linkage disequilibrium with these DQ alleles.[1]


  1. HLA class II alleles associated with celiac disease susceptibility in a southern European population. Tighe, M.R., Hall, M.A., Barbado, M., Cardi, E., Welsh, K.I., Ciclitira, P.J. Tissue Antigens (1992) [Pubmed]
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