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Crit Rev Clin Lab Sci. 2012 May-Jun;49(3):63-84. doi: 10.3109/10408363.2012.677947. Epub 2012 Apr 26.

The immunosuppressive molecule HLA-G and its clinical implications.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry, University Clinic of Navarra, Pamplona, Spain.


Human leukocyte antigen G (HLA-G) is a non-classical major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I molecule that, through interaction with its receptors, exerts important tolerogenic functions. Its main physiological expression occurs in placenta where it seems to participate in the maternal tolerance toward the fetus. HLA-G has been studied as a marker of pregnancy complications such as abortion or pre-eclapmsia. Although HLA-G is not expressed in most adult tissues, its ectopic expression has been observed in some diseases such as viral infections, autoimmune disorders, and especially cancer. HLA-G neo-expression in cancer is associated with the capability of tumor cells to evade the immune control. In this review, we will summarize HLA-G biology and how it participates in these physiopathological processes. Special attention will be paid to its role as a diagnostic tool and also as a therapeutic target.

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