HLA class II-associated genetic susceptibility in multiple sclerosis: a critical evaluation

Tissue Antigens. 1991 Jul;38(1):1-15. doi: 10.1111/j.1399-0039.1991.tb02029.x.


Multiple sclerosis (MS) has, since the 1970s, been known to be associated with the HLA-Dw2 and -DR2 specificities in Caucasian Europeans and North Americans. By the use of genomic typing techniques, the association has been specified to be with the DRw15,DQw6,Dw2, i.e. the DRB1*1501-DQA1*0102-DQB1*0602 haplotype. A significant DPw4 association in Scandinavian MS patients has been described in one report. However, this association has not been confirmed in several subsequent studies with patients from the same and other ethnic groups. During the last few years several reports, based on serological, RFLP and PCR-SSO data, have suggested that the HLA class II-associated MS susceptibility gene(s) may be more closely associated with the DQ than with the DR subregion. The observations that the HLA-DQB1 genes of MS patients share long stretches of sequence motifs and also carry DQA1 alleles encoding glutamine at position 34 of the DQ alpha chain have received considerable attention. It has been suggested that the susceptibility to develop MS might be determined by the corresponding DQ alpha-beta heterodimers either encoded in cis or in trans. We have investigated these issues in a large group of Swedish MS patients (n = 179). We found that the associations with the suggested DQB1 sequences and position 34 of the DQ alpha chain were due to linkage disequilibrium and secondary to the association with the DRw15,DQw6,Dw2 haplotype (p less than 10(-9) and p less than 10(-8), respectively). No overrepresentation of the implicated DQ alpha-beta heterodimers was observed in DRw15,DQw6,Dw2-negative patients.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Disease Susceptibility
  • Genes, MHC Class II / genetics
  • Genes, MHC Class II / immunology
  • Histocompatibility Antigens Class II / genetics*
  • Histocompatibility Antigens Class II / immunology
  • Humans
  • Multiple Sclerosis / genetics*
  • Multiple Sclerosis / immunology


  • Histocompatibility Antigens Class II