KIR-HLA distribution in a Vietnamese population from Hanoi

Hum Immunol. 2018 Feb;79(2):93-100. doi: 10.1016/j.humimm.2017.11.011. Epub 2017 Nov 27.


The KIR (killer cell immunoglobulin-like receptors) gene family codifies a group of receptors that recognize human leukocyte antigens (HLA) and modulate natural killer (NK) cells response. Genetic diversity of KIR genes and HLA ligands has not yet been deeply investigated in South East Asia. Here, we characterized KIR gene presence and absence polymorphism of 14 KIR genes and two pseudogenes, as well as the frequencies of the ligands HLA-Bw4, HLA-C1 and HLA-C2 in a Vietnamese population from Hanoi (n = 140). Genotyping was performed by polymerase chain reaction with specific sequence primers (PCR-SSP). We compared KIR frequencies and performed principal component analysis with 43 worldwide populations of different ancestries. KIR carrier frequencies in Vietnamese were similar to those reported for Thai and Chinese Han, but differed significantly from other geographically close populations such as Japanese and South Korean. This similarity was also observed in KIR gene-content genotypes and is in accordance with the origin from Southern China and Thailand proposed for the Vietnamese population. The frequencies of HLA ligands observed in Vietnamese did not differ from those reported for other East-Asian populations (p > .05). Studies regarding KIR-HLA in populations are of prime importance to understand their evolution, function and role in diseases.

Keywords: Human leukocyte antigen; Killer cell immunoglobulin-like receptors; Population genetics; Vietnam.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Asia, Southeastern
  • Asian Continental Ancestry Group
  • Female
  • Gene Frequency
  • Genotype*
  • HLA-B Antigens / genetics*
  • HLA-C Antigens / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Killer Cells, Natural / immunology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Polymorphism, Genetic
  • Receptors, KIR / genetics*
  • Vietnam


  • HLA-B Antigens
  • HLA-Bw4 antigen
  • HLA-C Antigens
  • HLA-C*02 antigen
  • Receptors, KIR