Purpose: Acute anterior uveitis is strongly associated with the HLA-B27 antigen and triggered by the involvement of some external factors. However, it is uncertain whether HLA-B27 itself or other gene(s) near the HLA-B region in a linkage disequilibrium with HLA-B27 predispose to this uveitis. We therefore investigated microsatellite polymorphism in the transmembrane region of the major histocompatibility complex class I chain-related gene A (MICA), located 47 kilobases (kb) on the centromeric side of the HLA-B gene on the short arm of chromosome 6 within 6p21.3.
Methods: We examined the following patients for MICA gene polymorphism by means of polymerase chain reaction and subsequent automated fragment detection by fluorescent-based technology: 64 (37 HLA-B27-positive and 27 HLA-B27-negative) whites with acute anterior uveitis, 74 (67 HLA-B27-negative and 7 HLA-B27-positive) ethnically matched random controls, and 36 HLA-B27-positive healthy controls.
Results: The microsatellite allele consisting of four repetitions of GCT/AGC (designated A4 allele) was present at the significantly higher phenotype frequency (71.9%) in the patient group than in the ethnically matched random control group (13.5%) (P < .0000001, corrected P < .0000001). The A4 allele was strongly linked to HLA-B27 in a white population. However, the A4 allele was also found at the significantly higher phenotype frequency (37.0%) even in the HLA-B27-negative patient group than in the ethnically matched HLA-B27-negative control group (4.5%) (P = .0086, corrected P = .043).
Conclusions: These results suggest that the MICA gene itself or other nearby gene(s) linked to the MICA A4 allele may be involved in the development of acute anterior uveitis in a white population.