Clinical correlates of human leucocyte antigen (HLA)-G in systemic sclerosis

Clin Exp Immunol. 2015 Jul;181(1):100-9. doi: 10.1111/cei.12633. Epub 2015 May 10.


Human leucocyte antigen (HLA)-G has a tolerogenic function and could play a role in the pathogenesis of immune-mediated diseases, including systemic sclerosis (SSc). The aim of this study was to evaluate HLA-G serum expression (sHLA-G) and the HLA-G gene 14 base pairs (bp) insertion/deletion (del(-)/del(+)) polymorphism in patients with Ssc, to search for possible associations with clinical and laboratory variables. sHLA-G was measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) in sera from 77 patients with SSc and 32 healthy donors (HD); the 14 bp del(-)/del(+) polymorphism was evaluated by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplification of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) genomic DNA. Receiver operating characteristics (ROC) analysis identified the HLA-G cut-off that best discriminated dichotomized clinical and serological variables, that was subsequently employed to subdivide SSc patients into HLA-G high (HLA-G(+)) and low (HLA-G(-)) profile groups. sHLA-G were not statistically different between SSc patients and HD, nor between distinct SSc autoantibody subsets. Subdividing SSc patients by HLA-G positivity or negativity yielded significant differences for the modified Rodnan skin score (mRss) (P = 0.032), 'general' (P = 0.031) and 'kidney' (P = 0.028) Medsger severity scores (MSS) and disease activity index, and especially Δ heart/lung (P = 0.005). A worse 'general' MSS (P = 0.002) and Δ heart/lung (P = 0.011) were more frequent in the low sHLA-G group. These two variables and mRss were associated with sHLA-G levels at logistic regression analysis. Treatment had no influence on sHLA-G. Moreover, a higher frequency of scleredema was detected in the del(+)/del(+) than the del(-)/del(+) group (P = 0.04). These data suggest modulatory effects of sHLA-G on SSc. Prospective studies are needed to investigate a role in predicting the disease course.

Keywords: HLA-G; HLA-G genotype; systemic sclerosis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Gene Frequency
  • HLA-G Antigens / blood*
  • HLA-G Antigens / genetics*
  • HLA-G Antigens / immunology
  • Humans
  • Leukocytes, Mononuclear / immunology*
  • Male
  • Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Scleroderma, Systemic / genetics*
  • Scleroderma, Systemic / immunology*


  • HLA-G Antigens