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MICA, MICB and C1_4_1 polymorphism in Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis


Correspondence to:J. Glas
Labor für Immungenetik
Kinderklinik und Poliklinik der LMU
Pettenkoferstraße 8a
80336 München
Tel: +49 089 5160 3713
Fax: +49 089 5328141


Abstract: MICA and MICB belong to a multicopy gene family located in the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I region near the HLA-B gene. They encode for MHC class I molecules, which are induced by stress factors like infection, heat shock or neoplastic transformation and which are mainly expressed on gastrointestinal epithelium. They are recognized by γδ T lymphocytes and natural killer (NK) cells. Additionally they are located within a linkage region on chromosome 6p around HLA-B and TNFα. Thus the polymorphic MICA and MICB genes are excellent candidate genes for providing the genetic background of inflammatory bowel disease. A strong association of allele A6 of the MICA exon 5 trinucleotide microsatellite polymorphism with ulcerative colitis has been found in Japanese patients. Therefore, we have analysed the MICA exon 5 polymorphism, the MICB intron 1 dinucleotide polymorphism and in addition the tetranucleotide polymorphism C1_4_1, which is located between the MICA gene and the HLA-B gene, in patients of Caucasoid origin with Crohn’s disease (n=94) and ulcerative colitis (n=94). In this study we could not find any associations of particular alleles of the MICA, MICB and C1_4_1 polymorphisms with Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis. We could also not discover any associations of specific two-point or three-point haplotypes with these diseases. Thus it is unlikely that the MICA and MICB genes are involved in causing susceptibility for inflammatory bowel disease, although it cannot be excluded that a weak association could be identified in a larger patient sample.