• autoimmune disease;
  • HLA alleles;
  • primary biliary cirrhosis

Abstract:  In the current study, we investigated human leukocyte antigen (HLA) class II alleles in Caucasian women with primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC), a disease that preferentially affects women. Alleles of DRB1, DQA1, and DQB1 were determined by DNA-based HLA typing for women with PBC (n = 72) and healthy women (n = 381). All study subjects were Caucasian. HLA DRB1*08 was significantly increased in women with PBC compared to healthy women. The increase was primarily due to the DRB1*0801 allele, also the most common DRB1*08 allele among controls. DQB1*04 and DQA1*0401 were significantly increased. DRB1*1501, DQA1*0102, and DQB1*0602 were associated with decreased risk. Analyses conducted comparing parous women with PBC to parous healthy women (n = 68 and n = 282, respectively) yielded similar significant results. Although the DRB1*08-DQA1*0401-DQB1*04 haplotype was significantly associated with PBC, consistent with other studies, this haplotype nevertheless represented only 19% (14/72) of all PBC patients and can account for only a minority of the risk of PBC.