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Keywords:

  • antigen;
  • atopy;
  • house dust mite allergy;
  • HLA;
  • linkage;
  • MHC;
  • sibpair;
  • TDT

Background

IgE response to common inhalant allergens seems to be the major determinant of the development of atopic rhinitis and asthma but it has been difficult to demonstrate genetic control of the IgE response.

Objective

To investigate genetic linkage between specific IgE reactions to purified aero-allergens (grass, birch, cat, mite) and the HLA–class II locus.

Methods

DNA-based HLA–class II typing was performed for determination of DRB1, DQB1 and DPB1 alleles. Linkage was studied by the affected sibpair method and the extended transmission disequilibrium test in 100 children from 40 nuclear families selected from a homogeneous population in south-western Germany.

Results

Significant linkage of mite-specific IgE response to HLA–DPB (P = 0.00001), HLA–DRB (0.02) and HLA–DQB (P = 0.001) was revealed by sibpair analysis of MHC class II alleles and confirmed by the extended transmission disequilibrium test for HLA–DRB (P = 0.01) and HLA–DPB (P = 0.04). No consistent significant linkage between the HLA–class II locus and IgE response to grass pollen, birch pollen, and cat dander could be demonstrated.

Conclusion

The findings are consistent with the existence of one or more genes in the HLA–class II region modifying the IgE immune response to common environmental allergens.