Marrosu, Maria Giovanna and Murru, Maria Rita and Costa, Gianna and Murru, Raffaele and Muntoni, Francesco M. and Cucca, Francesco (1998) DRB1-DQA1-DQB1 loci and multiple sclerosis predisposition in the Sardinian population. Human Molecular Genetics, Vol. 7 (8), p. 1235-1237. eISSN 1460-2083. Article.
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Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a common neurological disease caused by genetic and environmental factors. Previous genetic analyses have suggested that the MHC/HLA region on chromosome 6p21 contains an MS-predisposing component. Which of the many genes present in this region is primarily responsible for disease susceptibility is still an open issue. In this study, we evaluated, in a large cohort of MS families from the Mediterranean island of Sardinia, the role of allelic variation at the HLA-DRB1, DQA1 and DQB1 candidate loci in MS predisposition. Using the transmission disequilibrium test (TDT), we found significant evidence of association with MS in both the Sardinian-specific DRB1(*)0405(DR4)-DQA1(*)0501-DQB1(*)0301 haplotype and the DRB1(*) 0301(DR3)-DQA1(*)0501-DQB1(*)0201 haplotype. Detailed comparative analysis of the DRB1-DQA1-DQB1 haplotypes present in this data set did not identify an individual locus that could explain MS susceptibility. The predisposing effect is haplotype specific, in that it is confined to specific combinations of alleles at the DRB1, DQA1 and DQB1 loci. Cross-ethnic comparison between the two HLA haplotypes associated with MS in Sardinians and the DRB1(*)1501 (DR2)-DQA1(*)O102-DQB1(*) 0602 haplotype, associated with MS in other Caucasian populations, failed to identify any shared epitopes in the DR and DQ molecules that segregated with disease susceptibility. These results suggest that another MHC gene(s), in linkage disequilibrium with specific HLA-DRB1, DQA1, DQB1 haploypes, might be primarily responsible for genetic susceptibility to MS. Alternatively, the presence of complex interactions between different HLA haplotypes, other non-HLA predisposing genes and environmental factors may explain different associations in different populations.
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