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Molecular analysis of DRB and DQB1 alleles in German spina bifida patients with and without IgE responsiveness to the latex major allergen Hev b 1


Dr H.-P. Rihs, BGFA, Department Molecular Genetics, Buerkle-de-la-Camp-Platz 1, 44789 Bochum, Germany.


Background and Objective

Spina bifida patients are at a high risk of developing latex allergy. Recently, we found a relationship between the IgE responsiveness to latex allergen hevein and human leucocyte antigen (HLA) alleles DRB1*04 (DR4) as well as DQB1*0302 (DQ8). This study was carried out to investigate the association between HLA class II alleles and the specific IgE response to latex allergen Hev b 1 in spina bifida patients.


Blood samples from 103 unrelated German spina bifida patients exposed to latex products and from 90 unsensitized controls were examined. Genomic DNA isolation followed by HLA-D-specifc polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplification was used to perform HLA typing of allelic polymorphisms in exon 2 of DQB1 and of DRB1,3,4,5 with sequence-specific oligonucleotide probes (SSOPs).


Fifty-one out of 103 spina bifida patients were found to have anti-latex IgE antibodies; 40 had also anti-Hev b 1 antibodies. Further, we observed that 80% of the Hev b 1 responders underwent five or more surgeries whereas 55% of the Hev b 1 non-responders and 75% of the latex-non-responders underwent less than five surgical interventions. From the latex-sensitized group 33% showed an elevated phenotype frequency of DRB1*0701 (DR7) when compared with unsensitized patients (12%, P = 0.0095, Pc = NS) and with controls (17%; P = 0.035, Pc = ns). Fifteen out of 40 Hev b 1 responders also exhibited an elevated DR7 frequency when compared with latex-sensitive but Hev b 1-negative patients (38% vs 18%, P = NS) or with unsensitized controls (38% vs 17%, P = 0.013, Pc = NS).


Although we found that the DRB1*0701 (DR7) phenotype frequency was elevated in SB patients with latex- as well as with Hev b 1-IgE responsiveness, the analyses of the other class II alleles clearly demonstrate that the HLA-D region does not play a major role in the pathogenetic way of sensitization to Hev b 1.