Clinical correlates, serum autoantibodies and the role of the major histocompatibility complex in French Canadian and non-French Canadian Caucasians with SLE

Lupus. 1998;7(3):183-91. doi: 10.1191/096120398678919976.


Objective: To investigate the predisposing role of major histocompatibility complex (MHC) genes to autoantibody production and clinical manifestations comparing French Canadian and Non-French Canadian Caucasians with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) METHODS: Ninety-one Caucasian patients with SLE were studied. Clinical manifestations, autoantibody expression and HLA-A, B, (serology), DR, DQ and C4A gene deletion (restriction fragment length polymorphism [RFLP] typing) were determined.

Results: Photosensitivity was present in all SLE subjects with anti-Ro antibodies (P=0.001, RR=13.1, CI=1.8, 564). Photosensitivity was further associated with the HLA-A1, C4A gene deletion haplotype. More strikingly, C4A gene deletion was associated with anti-Ro (P=0.008, RR=4.6, CI=1.4, 16.2) and anti-La (P=0.02, RR=11.7, CI=1.4, 549) autoantibodies. This relationship was also significant for anti-Ro antibody in the French Canadian patients (P=0.01, RR=21.3, CI=1.7, 105.3). In contrast, anti-dsDNA autoantibodies were negatively associated with photosensitivity (P=0.02, RR=0.3, CI=0.07, 0.8) and correlated with HLA-DR15 (P=0.006, RR=4.2, CI=1.5, 12.8) and Dw2 (P=0.009, RR=3.9, CI=1.4, 11.9).

Conclusion: C4A gene deletion has a previously unrecognized powerful association with anti-Ro and anti-La autoantibodies. These results support the concept of divergent MHC gene associations with autoantibody expression and emphasize the influence of ethnicity on the immunogenetic study of SLE.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alleles
  • Autoantibodies / blood*
  • Autoantibodies / immunology
  • Canada / epidemiology
  • Data Interpretation, Statistical
  • Female
  • France / ethnology
  • HLA Antigens / genetics
  • HLA Antigens / physiology
  • Humans
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / ethnology
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / genetics*
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / immunology
  • Major Histocompatibility Complex / genetics*
  • Major Histocompatibility Complex / physiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Whites / genetics*


  • Autoantibodies
  • HLA Antigens