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HLA-DRB1 and MHC class 1 chain-related A haplotypes in Basque families with celiac disease


Dr Luis Castaño
Endocrinology and Diabetes Research Unit
Hospital de Cruces
Barakaldo E48903 Bizkaia
Tel: +34 94 6006376
Fax: +34 94 6006076


Abstract: The contribution of HLA genes to the genetic risk for celiac disease (CD) has been known for a long time. Recent publications have pointed to the possibility that a second, independent susceptibility locus could be located in the same genomic region, and a triplet repeat polymorphism in exon 5 of the gene MHC class I chain-related protein A (MICA; located between TNFA and HLA-B) has been associated with several autoimmune disorders, including type 1 diabetes mellitus (DM1) and Addison's disease. On the other hand, a single amino acid change in exon 3 of MICA (M129V) has been shown to strongly reduce MICA binding to NKG2D, an activating natural killer receptor expressed also on T cells, and this could have significant effects on autoimmune reactions. In this study, we have analyzed the contribution of these polymorphisms to CD in 37 Basque families, and have constructed MICA-HLA-DRB1 haplotypes to determine whether MICA has an effect independent from the HLA class II conferred risk. In our population, HLA-DRB1*0301 was associated with an increased risk for CD, while HLA-DRB1*1501 conferred protection from the disease (OR: 7.38 and 0.06, respectively). On the other hand, MICA allele A4 was positively associated with the disease (OR: 4.69) whereas allele A9 showed a trend towards protection (OR: 0.18), although significance did not hold after correction. No association of the exon 3 biallelic polymorphism was observed. A positive allelic association was found for haplotypes A5.1-DRB1*0301 (associated with risk for disease), A4-DRB1*0301 and A6-DRB1*07. In view of our results, both HLA-DRB1 and MICA are associated with CD, but stratification analysis did not show any independent contribution of the MICA polymorphisms analyzed to CD risk. Besides, MICA allele A4 (also A5.1 was associated with risk for CD and other diseases) is in strong linkage disequilibrium with HLA-DRB1*0301. Finally, the major histocompatibility complex region's conferred susceptibility to CD, at least in Basque, is very similar to that observed for DM1, with shared risk and protective haplotypes.