HLA polymorphisms in Italian bone marrow donors: a regional analysis


Dipartimento di Genetica, Biologia e Biochimica Via Santena 19 10124 Torino Italy E-mail: rendine@cios.to.cnrit


Abstract: The aim of this study was to analyse the genetic structure of the Italian bone marrow donor population on the basis of HLA polymorphisms. Maximum likelihood estimates of gene and haplotype frequencies, goodness of fit to Hardy-Weinberg predictions and heterozygosity were calculated for 18 Italian administrative regions. Moreover, the phenotypic peculiarity of the regional populations was assessed by analysing the number of “typical phenotypes” found in each region. Multivariate analyses carried out on HLA-A and HLA-B gene frequencies gave a genetic pattern of the donor pools that reflects the structure of the Italian population determined in previous population genetic studies. Sardinia shows a very large genetic difference with respect to the other regions; of these, the central-southern regions are well-differentiated from the central-northern. Southern regions present higher genetic heterogeneity and a higher probability of providing donors with phenotypes not already present in the Italian bone marrow registry. The large sample size of the bone marrow donor registry allowed us to estimate gene and haplotype frequencies with greater accuracy than in previous studies. Our results may be of use in determining strategies for donor recruitment and selecting unrelated donors for patients requiring bone marrow grafting, as well as for anthropological, epidemiological and population genetics studies.