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Clin Exp Allergy. 1999 Jan;29(1):60-71.

Immunogenetics of atopic asthma: association of DRB1*1101 DQA1*0501 DQB1*0301 haplotype with Dermatophagoides spp.-sensitive asthma in a sample of the Venezuelan population.

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Departamento de Alergia e Immunologia, Hospital Militar Carlos Arvelo, Sta Fe de Bogota, Colombia.



Genes linked to the major histocompatibility complex (MHC), have been implicated in atopic asthma. Asthma is highly prevalent in the Venezuelan population (estimated at 20%) and genetic markers are needed to identify populations at risk and plan intervention strategies.


To study the influence of the MHC class I and class II genes in the susceptibility to atopic asthma.


MHC-class I HLA-A, -C, -B and MHC-class II HLA-DR, -DQ, -DP gene haplotype frequencies were determined in 135 Venezuelan mestizos, 71 belong to 20 atopic asthmatic families and 64 unrelated controls. The index cases were 20 atopic asthmatics with positive skin-prick tests and specific serum immunoglobulin E (IgE) for Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus (Der p) and Dermatophagoides farinae (Der f). To ascertain the genes associated with susceptibility to atopy and/or asthma, two control groups were studied, 41 non-atopic subjects with skin-prick negative test, and undetectable levels of specific IgE and 23 non-asthmatic atopic subjects with detectable specific IgE to Der p and Der f. A linkage analysis was performed in those families with two or more atopic siblings (with or without asthma).


MHC-class I genes analysis showed that HLA-Cw7 was absent in the asthmatic patients studied, whereas the frequency of this allele was 14.3% in non-atopic controls (P = 0.0 17, PC = 0.19) and 20.8% in the atopic controls (P = 0.0066, PC = 0.07). MHC-class II gene analysis showed a significant increase of the HLA-DRB1*11 in the asthmatic patients compared with non-atopic controls (allele frequencies of 25.6 vs 4.4% P = 0.0017, PC = 0.02). There were no significant differences among asthmatic and atopic controls in the frequency of HLA-DRB1*11 (25.6 vs 17.4%). In contrast, the HLA-DRB1*1101+ haplotypes were significantly higher in asthmatics compared with atopic and non-atopic controls (19.6% vs 2.2% vs 2.3%, PC<0.05). The HLA-DRB1*1101, DQA1*0501, DQB1*0301 haplotype was found significantly increased in the patients vs non-atopic controls (15.4 vs 1.1%, PC< 0.01). The serum levels of specific IgE were detectable in both atopic asthmatics and atopic controls; however, it was higher in atopic asthmatics vs atopic controls Der p (median, 58.7 vs 2.7 kU/L, P<0.001) and Der f (median, 46.9 vs 2.7 kU/L, P<0.001). No linkage between MHC genes and mite-atopy could be documented on informative families with two or more atopic siblings.


We have identified an association between the haplotype HLA-DRB1*1101, DQA1*0501, DQB1*0301 and atopic asthma that confers susceptibility to develop mite-sensitive asthma to atopics (relative risk, RR 8.2), and to non-atopic controls (RR = 15.8) that carry this haplotype. Conversely, the allele HLA-Cw7 was absent in the asthmatics studied and had higher frequencies in the atopic (RR = 0.05) and non-atopic (RR = 0.08) controls. Thus, it may have a protective role for developing atopic asthma in the population studied.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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