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Summary

Coeliac disease is strongly heritable, with more than half of the genetic susceptibility estimated to come from genes outside the HLA region. Several candidate regions have been suggested from genome-wide linkage studies including chromosome 19q13.4 where linkage has been replicated between populations. The natural killer (NK) cell immunoglobulin-like receptors (KIRs) and leukocyte immunoglobulin-like receptor (LILR, also known as ILT and LIR) gene clusters lie within this region in the leukocyte receptor cluster (LRC). KIR molecules are involved in cytotoxic lymphocyte function and expressed by intraepithelial T and NK cells in the duodenum. We studied 132 unrelated UK Caucasian coeliac patients and their parents together with a control group of 171 UK Caucasians. PCR-SSP for KIR2DL1, KIR2DL2, KIR2DL3, KIR2DL5, LILRA3 (ILT6), LILRA3 deletion and an LILRA3 exon 3 single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) allowed classification of KIR genotypes into five categories and determination of homozygosity or heterozygosity for the common A and B type KIR haplotypes (as defined in the text) and for the LILRA3 deletion. Case–control analysis found no association of the five KIR genotype categories, the A or B KIR haplotypes, the LILRA3 gene deletion or the LILRA3 exon 3 SNP with coeliac disease. A transmission disequilibrium test also found no association of the A and B KIR haplotypes or the LILRA3 gene deletion with coeliac disease.