Sex distribution, age of onset and HLA profiles in two types of multiple sclerosis. A role for sex hormones and microbial infections in the development of autoimmunity?

J Neurol Sci. 1986 Nov;76(1):13-21. doi: 10.1016/0022-510x(86)90138-3.


Fifty-four patients with clinically definite multiple sclerosis were typed for HLA-A, B, C, DR and DQ antigens. HLA-DQ was not a better disease marker than the previously described HLA-DR and B markers. The patients were subdivided according to the clinical evolution of their disease, age at onset and sex. HLA-DR2 was significantly associated with females having a relapsing-remitting course of the disease and HLA-B8 and B35 were significantly associated with males having a chronic-progressive course of the disease. A role is postulated for defects in the sex hormone balance in females and for microbial infections in males as dominant environmental triggers in the development of autoreactivity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Autoimmune Diseases / etiology
  • Female
  • Gonadal Steroid Hormones / physiology*
  • HLA Antigens*
  • HLA-B35 Antigen
  • HLA-B8 Antigen
  • HLA-DR Antigens
  • HLA-DR2 Antigen
  • Humans
  • Infections / complications*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multiple Sclerosis / classification
  • Multiple Sclerosis / etiology*
  • Multiple Sclerosis / immunology
  • Sex Factors


  • Gonadal Steroid Hormones
  • HLA Antigens
  • HLA-B35 Antigen
  • HLA-B8 Antigen
  • HLA-DR Antigens
  • HLA-DR2 Antigen