Background Vitiligo is an acquired depigmentary disorder of the skin and hair which results from selective destruction of melanocytes. Serological typing and genotyping of human leukocyte antigen (HLA) have shown discrepancies in HLA associations with vitiligo in different ethnic populations.
Methods Polymerase chain reaction sequence-specific primer (PCR-SSP) method was used to analyze the distribution of HLA-DQA1 and -DQB1 alleles among 187 patients with vitiligo and 273 healthy controls through Epi Info version 6 package (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA, USA).
Results The frequencies of HLA-DQA1*0302 (OR = 1.98, Pc < 0.01), -DQB1*0303 (OR = 3.14, Pc < 0.001), and -DQB1*0503 (OR = 3.36, Pc < 0.05) alleles were significantly increased in patients with vitiligo compared with controls, and HLA-DQA1*0501 (OR = 0.40, Pc < 0.01) allele frequency was highly decreased. HLA-DQA1*0302 (OR = 5.19, Pc < 0.001), -DQA1*0601 (OR = 2.95, Pc < 0.05), -DQB1*0303 (OR = 4.50, Pc < 0.001), and -DQB1*0503 (OR = 6.69, Pc < 0.001) alleles were positively associated, whereas HLA-DQA1*0501 (OR = 0.05, Pc < 0.001) allele was negatively associated with childhood vitiligo patients, and HLA-DQB1*0303 (OR = 2.76, Pc < 0.001) allele was positively associated with adult vitiligo patients compared with controls. The frequency of HLA-DQB1*0303 (OR = 3.72, Pc < 0.001) allele was significantly increased in localized vitiligo patients vs. controls, whereas HLA-DQA1*0302 (OR = 2.47, Pc < 0.01), -DQB1*0303 (OR = 2.67, Pc < 0.01), and -DQB1*0503 (OR = 4.46, Pc < 0.01) allele frequencies were significantly increased and -DQA1*0501 (OR = 0.27, Pc < 0.01) allele frequency was highly decreased in generalized vitiligo patients.
Conclusions HLA-DQA1*0302, -DQA1*0601, -DQB1*0303, and -DQB1*0503 alleles could be susceptible alleles of vitiligo, while HLA-DQA1*0501 allele could be a protective allele in Chinese Hans. There may be different genetic backgrounds between vitiligo patients of childhood and adult, localized and generalized.