Frequencies of HLA-A, HLA-B, HLA-DR, and HLA-DQ phenotypes in the United Arab Emirates population


*L. Abdel-Waieth, Immunology and Specialized testing, Mafrag Hospital, Abu Dhabi, UAE


Abstract:  The high degree of polymorphism of the human leukocyte antigen (HLA) system provides means for the study of diversity in different populations. The aim of this work is to study the HLA phenotype frequencies in the United Arab Emiratis in comparison with other geographically related Arabs, Iranians, and Asians, all living in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Healthy blood donors and potential kidney or bone marrow donors were typed for HLA class I (n = 1880) and class II (n = 2022). Only one representative member of each family was included to avoid bias. UAE Emiratis, Arabs of Arabian Gulf Peninsula (AGP), Arabs of South Mediterranean (SMR), North African Arabs (NA), Iranians, and Asians. HLA typing was done by microlymphocytotoxicity method and/or low-resolution polymerase chain reaction-sequence-specific primer techniques. As an individual antigen, HLA-A2 had the highest frequency in all populations studied, however, the frequency of the broad antigen A19 surpassed A2 in all the groups except the AGP Arabs and Iranians. B5 was the predominant B antigen in all groups except the SMR and Asians. Amongst the class II broad antigens, DR2 was the most frequent antigen in UAE, AGP Arabs, Iranians, and Asians. The overall frequency of DQ1 was high in all groups except the SMR Arabs who had an almost equal distribution of DQ1 and DQ3. In conclusion, this study indicates that the most frequent antigens in the UAE population are HLA-A19, HLA-A2, HLA-B5, and HLA-DR2. It also sheds light on the similarities between the UAE Emiratis, AGP Arabs, Iranians, and Asians, specially the predominance of DR2 of the class II antigens.