• HLA alleles;
  • pemphigus vulgaris;
  • PCR;
  • SSOP

Pemphigus vulgaris (PV) is a blistering disease of the skin and mucous membranes characterized by an autoantibody response against a keratinocyte adhesion molecule, desmoglein 3, causing acantholysis and blister formation. We compared high resolution MHC class II alleles and haplotype frequencies (HLA-DRB, DQA1 and DQB1) in 37 patients with PV to 89 haplotypes of normal relatives from New Delhi and Ahmedabad. We found that PV patients had significantly increased frequencies of DRB1*1404 (P<0.0001), DQA1*0101 (P=0.001), and DQB1*0503 (P<0.0001). These associations were due to the increased frequencies of the haplotype HLA-DRB 1 * 1404, DRB3*0202, DQA1*0101, DQB1*0503 in patients compared to control haplotypes (p<0.0001). Also, patients from Ahmedabad had a significant increase in HLA-DQB 1*0302 (p=0.03). An identical amino acid sequence (Leu-Leu-Glu-Arg-Arg-Arg-Ala-Glu), in positions 67–74 of the P domain of DRB alleles is restricted to some DR14 alleles. Therefore, there are three possible explanations for class II allele involvement in autoantibody in PV patients with class II haplotypes marked by HLA-DR14. First, the class II alleles could be markers for an unidentified susceptibility gene in linkage disequilibrium with them. Second, the primary association could be with DQB 1*0503 and the association with HLA-DR14 alleles would be the result of linkage disequilibrium. Third, the HLA-DRB 1 locus susceptibility could involve a specific amino acid sequence in the third hypervariable region shared by several HLA-DR14 alleles.