The association of HLA-DQB1*0602 but not HLA-DRB1*15 with obstructive sleep apnea

Clin Invest Med. 2017 Aug 29;40(4):E167-E175. doi: 10.25011/cim.v40i4.28494.


Purpose: Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a sleep breathing disorder with unclear multifactorial pathogenesis. This study aimed to investigate the association between OSA and two human leukocyte antigens (HLA) alleles; DQB1*0602 and DRB1*15.

Methods: Forty patients with OSA and 40 control subjects were enrolled in the study. OSA diagnosis was made utilizing the Apnea-Hypopnea Index (AHI)≥5 in overnight polysomnography (PSG). AHI was also used to determine OSA severity. Controls were randomly selected from healthy volunteers who had a low risk for OSA, utilizing the Berlin Questionnaire. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) using Sequence Specific Primers (PCR-SSPs) was used to determine the association between HLA (HLA-DQB1*0602 and HLA-DRB1*15) and OSA, then statistical analyses of the results were performed.

Results: HLA-DQB1*0602 allele was found in 85% of all OSA patients and 50% of controls (P< 0.001). In patients with severe OSA, HLA-DQB1*0602 was present in the 92.9% compared with 66.7% in non-severe OSA (P=0.05). HLA-DRB1*15 allele was found in 15% of OSA patients and 20% of controls, with no difference between the two groups (P=0.556). No statistical difference was found in HLA-DRB1*15 between severe and non-severe OSA (P=0.499). After adjusting for gender, HLA-DQB1*0602 allele was associated with increased odds of OSA (OR = 6.17, 95% CI 1.87-20.3, p = 0.003), but HLA-DRB1*15 allele was not associated with OSA (OR 0.45, 95% CI 0.12-1.73, p = 0.242).

Conclusions: The presence of HLA-DQB1*0602 allele, but not HLA-DRB1*15 allele, was significantly associated with OSA.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Alleles
  • Female
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease / genetics
  • HLA-DQ beta-Chains / genetics*
  • HLA-DQ beta-Chains / metabolism*
  • HLA-DRB1 Chains / genetics*
  • HLA-DRB1 Chains / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Odds Ratio
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive / genetics*
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive / metabolism*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult


  • HLA-DQ beta-Chains
  • HLA-DQB1 antigen
  • HLA-DRB1 Chains