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Keywords:

  • disease susceptibility genes;
  • HLA class II genes;
  • primary sclerosing cholangitis

The association of primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC) to HLA class II genes was studied by comparing patients from five different European populations. Deduced HLA-DRB1, DQA1, DQB1 haplotypes of 256 PSC patients from England, Italy, Norway, Spain and Sweden were compared to those observed in 764 ethnically-matched controls. Increased frequencies of the DRB1*03, DQA1*0501, DQB1*02 (RR=3.0, P<0.00001) and the DRB1*13, DQA1*0103, DQB1*0603 haplotypes (RR=2.4, P<0.0001) were observed in all five patient groups. A total of 16% of the PSC patients were homozygous for the DRB1*03, DQA1*0501, DQB1*02 haplotype compared to 1% of the controls (RR=20, P<0.0001). The DRB1*04, DQA1*03, DQB1*0302 haplotype was significantly reduced in frequency(RR=0.4, P<0.00001). Among Norwegian, Swedish and British patients that did not carry neither the DRB1*03, DQA1*0501, DQB1*02 nor the DRB1*13, DQA1*0103, DQB1*0603 haplotype, an increased frequency of the DRB1*15, DQA1*0102, DQB1*0602 haplotype was observed (RR=2.0, P<0.0001). Thus, PSC was found to be positively associated to three different HLA class II haplotypes (i.e. the DRB1*03, DQA1*0501, DQB1*02, the DRB1*15, DQA1*0102, DQB1*0602 and the DRB1*13, DQA1*0103, DQB1*0603 haplotypes) and negatively associated to one HLA class II haplotype (i.e. the DRB1*04, DQB1*0302 haplotype).