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Gut. 1998 Aug;43(2):187-9.

CTLA-4 gene polymorphism is associated with predisposition to coeliac disease.

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  • 1INSERM U25, Hôpital Necker-Enfants Malades, Paris, France.



Susceptibility to coeliac disease is strongly associated with particular HLA class II alleles. However, non-HLA genetic factors are likely to be required for the development of the disease. Among candidate genes is the CTLA-4 (cytotoxic T lymphocyte associated) gene located on chromosome 2q33 in humans, which encodes a cell surface molecule providing a negative signal for T cell activation.


To investigate CTLA-4 exon 1 polymorphism (position 49 A/G) in patients with coeliac disease.


101 patients with coeliac disease and 130 healthy controls.


Allele specific hybridisation and restriction enzyme digestion of polymerase chain reaction amplified genomic DNA.


The A allele of the CTLA-4 position 49 polymorphism was found on 82.2% of chromosomes in patients with coeliac disease compared with 65.8% in controls (p < 0.0001), mostly in the homozygous form (68.3% in patients versus 47.7% in controls; odds ratio (OR) 2.36, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.37 to 4.06, p = 0.002). Four patients only had the G/G genotype compared with 21 controls (OR 0.21, CI 10.07 to 0.64, p = 0.002). These differences were maintained when subjects were stratified according to the HLA class II phenotype, in particular when patients and controls were matched for the presence of the predisposing HLA DQB1*02 (DQ2) allele or HLA-DQA1*0501/DQB1*02 heterodimer.


The CTLA-4 gene polymorphism is a non-HLA determinant that predisposes to coeliac disease. Whether it directly contributes to disease susceptibility or represents a marker for a locus in linkage disequilibrium with CTLA-4 needs further investigation.

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