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Diabetologia. 1981 Aug;21(2):108-15.

HLA-D and -DR antigens in genetic analysis of insulin dependent diabetes mellitus.


Three groups of patients with insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus, ascertained by different procedures, were investigated for HLA-A, B, C and D antigens (n = 164), and a subset (n = 93) for HLA-DR. Both HLA-D/DR3 and D/DR4 were strongly positively associated and D/DR2 was negatively associated with insulin-dependent diabetes. HLA-DR+ was found to be a better marker for insulin-dependent diabetes than Dw4. The HLA-B associations (B8, B15 and B18) were clearly secondary to the increases of HLA-D/DR3 and D/DR 4. The HLA associations did not differ between familial and isolated cases indicating that these two groups may well have a common genetic background. Based on analysis of HLA-haplotype sharing in affected sibling pairs, a simple dominant model of inheritance could be ruled out, and a simple recessive model was found unlikely. The relative risks for the HLA-Dw3,4 and HLA-DR3,4 phenotype were 21.2 and 44.4 respectively and exceeded those of both the HLA-Dw3 and HLA-DR3 (5.6 and 4.3) as well as the HLA-Dw4 and DR4 (10.1 and 10.5) phenotypes. This argues against an intermediate genetic model but further studies are needed to clarify whether there is more than one susceptibility gene for insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus within the HLA-system.

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