Human leukocyte antigens in occupational allergy: a possible protective effect of HLA-B16 in laboratory animal allergy

Am J Ind Med. 1996 Oct;30(4):415-20. doi: 10.1002/(SICI)1097-0274(199610)30:4<415::AID-AJIM6>3.0.CO;2-U.


Human leukocyte antigens (HLA-A, -B, -C, and -DR loci) and possible associations with occupational allergy to laboratory animals and atopy indicators were studied in laboratory animal workers with airway symptoms (n = 92) and in those who were symptom free (n = 27), as well as in a population reference group of blood donors in good health (n = 123). The laboratory animal workers, but not the population reference group, were allergologically examined with skin prick testing to common environmental and animal allergens together with measurement of total serum IgE levels. Seven HLA antigens, i.e., HLA-A9, -B5, -B12, -B16, -DR4, -DR5, and -Drw6, suggested possible associations with symptoms and/or atopy indicators. When correcting the p-values for the number of studied antigens, only the HLA-B16 differences remained statistically significant. HLA-B16 was elevated in symptom-free subjects compared to the population reference group and in subjects with serum IgE < 10 kU/L. Subjects with serum IgE > 100 kU/L and sensitized against environmental and/or laboratory animals, including LAA asthmatics, lacked HLA-B16. It is suggested that HLA-B16 or an immunosuppressive gene linked to HLA-B16 reduce the risk of producing IgE antibodies against animal protein allergens. However, our a priori hypothesis of a possible risk associated with HLA B15-DR4 could not be confirmed.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Allergens
  • Animals
  • Animals, Laboratory*
  • Asthma / immunology
  • Female
  • Genes, MHC Class II / genetics
  • HLA-A Antigens / analysis
  • HLA-A Antigens / immunology
  • HLA-B Antigens / analysis
  • HLA-B Antigens / genetics
  • HLA-B Antigens / immunology*
  • HLA-DR4 Antigen / analysis
  • HLA-DR4 Antigen / immunology
  • HLA-DR5 Antigen / analysis
  • HLA-DR5 Antigen / immunology
  • HLA-DR6 Antigen / analysis
  • HLA-DR6 Antigen / immunology
  • Humans
  • Hypersensitivity / immunology*
  • Hypersensitivity, Immediate / immunology
  • Immune Tolerance / genetics
  • Immunoglobulin E / blood
  • Immunoglobulin E / genetics
  • Male
  • Medical Laboratory Personnel*
  • Middle Aged
  • Occupational Diseases / immunology*
  • Respiratory Hypersensitivity / immunology
  • Skin Tests


  • Allergens
  • HLA-A Antigens
  • HLA-A9 antigen
  • HLA-B Antigens
  • HLA-B12 antigen
  • HLA-B16 antigen
  • HLA-B5 antigen
  • HLA-DR4 Antigen
  • HLA-DR5 Antigen
  • HLA-DR6 Antigen
  • Immunoglobulin E