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APMIS. 2012 Oct;120(10):828-35. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0463.2012.02911.x. Epub 2012 May 7.

Human leukocyte antigen-C and killer cell immunoglobulin-like receptor gene polymorphisms among patients with syphilis in a Chinese Han population.

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  • 1Blood Center of Shandong Province, Jinan, China.


Syphilis is a sexually transmitted infection caused by the Treponema pallidum subspecies pallidum spirochete bacterium. The killer cell immunoglobulin-like receptors (KIR), interacting with human leukocyte antigens (HLA), regulate the activations of natural killer (NK) cells and certain T-cell subsets in response to microbe infection. The objective of this study was to explore whether KIR and HLA-C gene polymorphisms were associated with syphilis in a Chinese Han population. Polymerase chain reaction with sequence-specific primers (PCR-SSP) method was used to genotype KIR and HLA-C genes in 231 syphilis patients and 247 healthy controls. Framework genes KIR2DL4, KIR3DL2, KIR3DL3 and KIR3DP1 were present in all individuals. The frequencies of KIR2DS3 and KIR3DS1 were higher in syphilis patients than in healthy controls (p = 0.030 and p = 0.038, respectively), while the frequency of KIR2DS5 was higher in healthy controls than in syphilis patients (p = 0.015; OR = 0.575). The homozygote for HLA-C1 allele (HLA-C1C1) was more common in controls compared with syphilis patients (p = 0.030; OR = 0.667). The frequency of individuals with HLA-C1C1 and KIR2DL3 genotype was higher in control group relative to syphilis patient group (p = 0.018; OR = 0.647). These data indicated that KIR2DS3 and KIR3DS1 were more prevalent in syphilis patients than in controls, and that KIR2DS5, HLA-C1C1 and HLA-C1C1-KIR2DL3 were more prevalent in controls than in syphilis patients, respectively. These will require further investigation using functional studies.

© 2012 The Authors APMIS © 2012 APMIS.

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