• Human leukocyte antigen-E;
  • polymorphism;
  • recurrent abortion;
  • trophoblast

PROBLEM: The aim of this study was to investigate the gene frequencies and shared alleles of human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-E gene in Japanese couples with or without recurrent abortion. METHOD OF STUDY: Polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-single strand conformation polymorphism (SSCP) analysis was carried out to detect polymorphism in exon 3 of the HLA-E gene in 30 Japanese couples with recurrent abortion and 38 normal Japanese couples with proven fertility. RESULTS: No point mutation was detected in exon 3 of HLA-E in both recurrent aborters and normal controls. HLA-EG and HLA-ER alleles were detected with frequencies of 66.7% and 33.3% in couples with recurrent abortion and 69.2% and 30.8% in normal couples, respectively. The gene frequency of HLA-EG was higher than that of HLA-ER, which is contrary to that found in Caucasian, African–American and Hispanic people but similar to Chinese people. The frequency of each allele was not significantly different between recurrent aborters and normal controls. The number of shared alleles between each couple with recurrent abortion is not significantly different from that with normal controls. CONCLUSION: Allele frequencies of HLA-E were suggested to be different in Asian people from those in other ethnic people. In light of no specific distribution pattern in recurrent aborters, HLA-E polymorphism does not seem to play a role in the pathogenesis of recurrent abortion.