MHC II molecules in inflammatory diseases: interplay of qualities and quantities

Trends Immunol. 2005 Nov;26(11):559-61. doi: 10.1016/ Epub 2005 Aug 31.


It is generally accepted that MHC II molecules confer susceptibility to inflammatory diseases because of the different abilities they possess for binding and presenting peptides to T cells. A new study suggests that the level of MHC II gene expression is also a risk factor for such diseases. It shows that a polymorphism in the promoter of the MHC II transactivator (MHC2TA) gene (which encodes CIITA), leads to reduced MHC2TA expression, and hence reduced production of MHC II molecules. This predisposes to rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis and myocardial infarction.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / genetics
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / immunology*
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Histocompatibility Antigens Class II / genetics
  • Histocompatibility Antigens Class II / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / immunology*
  • Multiple Sclerosis / genetics
  • Multiple Sclerosis / immunology*
  • Myocardial Infarction / genetics
  • Myocardial Infarction / immunology*
  • Polymorphism, Genetic
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic


  • Histocompatibility Antigens Class II