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Int J Parasitol. 2001 May 15;31(7):674-80.

HLA class II antigens positively and negatively associated with hepatosplenic schistosomiasis in a Chinese population.

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Molecular Parasitology Unit, The Queensland Institute of Medical Research, PO Royal Brisbane Hospital, Brisbane, QLD 4029, Australia.


To identify possible associations between host genetic factors and the onset of liver fibrosis following Schistosoma japonicum infection, the major histocompatibility class II alleles of 84 individuals living on an island (Jishan) endemic for schistosomiasis japonica in the Poyang Lake Region of Southern China were determined. Forty patients exhibiting advanced schistosomiasis, characterised by extensive liver fibrosis, and 44 age and sex-matched control subjects were assessed for the class II haplotypes HLA-DRB1 and HLA-DQB1. Two HLA-DRB1 alleles, HLA-DRB1*0901 (P=0.012) and *1302 (P=0.039), and two HLA-DQB1 alleles, HLA-DQB1*0303 (P=0.012) and *0609 (P=0.037), were found to be significantly associated with susceptibility to fibrosis. These associated DRB1 and DQB1 alleles are in very strong linkage disequilibrium, with DRB1*0901-DQB1*0303 and DRB1*1302-DQB1*0609 found as common haplotypes in this population. In contrast, the alleles HLA-DRB1*1501 (P=0.025) and HLA-DQB1*0601 (P=0.022) were found to be associated with resistance to hepatosplenic disease. Moreover, the alleles DQB1*0303 and DRB1*0901 did not increase susceptibility in the presence of DQB1*0601, indicating that DQB1*0601 is dominant over DQB1*0303 and DRB1*0901. The study has thus identified both positive and negative associations between HLA class II alleles and the risk of individuals developing moderate to severe liver fibrosis following schistosome infection.

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