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J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2000 May;105(5):960-6.

HLA-DRB1*01 alleles are associated with sensitization to cockroach allergens.

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Departments of Human Genetics, Medicine, and Pediatrics, University of Chicago, IL 60636, USA.



Sensitization to cockroach allergens is an important epidemiologic risk factor for asthma, particularly among African Americans living in urban environments. A recent genome screen in the Hutterites, a white founder population, identified a linkage between an HLA-linked marker and sensitization to cockroach allergens.


Our purpose was to determine whether alleles at one or more HLA loci are associated with sensitization to cockroach allergens in ethnically diverse populations.


Alleles at 14 HLA region loci were studied in the Hutterites. On the basis of these results, selected loci were examined in 54 African Americans with cockroach sensitization (cases) and 65 African Americans without cockroach sensitization (controls). Sensitivity to cockroach allergens was assessed in both samples by skin prick test to purified cockroach allergens (Periplaneta americana and Blatella germanica).


Significant associations between cockroach allergies and DRB1*0101 (P(corrected) =.0066), DQA1*0101 (P(corrected) =.0012), and DQB1*0501 (P(corrected) =.00096) were detected in the Hutterites. In the African American sample, the most significant association was with the DRB1*0102 allele (P(corrected) =.0088, odds ratio 16.4, 95% confidence interval 2.0, 131). The DRB1*0101 allele was infrequent in the African American sample (frequency 0.06) and the DRB1*0102 allele was absent in the Hutterites. DRB1*0101 and DRB1*0102 are closely related alleles that differ from nearly all other DRB1 alleles at 3 amino acids in the 1 peptide binding domain of the HLA-DR molecule.


The DRB1*0101 allele in the Hutterites and the DRB1*0102 allele in African Americans confer risk for cockroach sensitization. Elucidating this interaction at the molecular level may allow for more targeted treatment and prevention of atopic asthma in inner-city populations.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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