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Genes Immun. 2004 Jan;5(1):1-7.

The HLA-DR2 haplotype is associated with an increased proliferative response to the immunodominant CD4(+) T-cell epitope in human interferon-beta.

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Genencor International, Palo Alto, CA 94304, USA.


Human CD4(+) T-cell epitopes were identified in interferon-beta (IFN-beta)-1b. A prominent peptide epitope region was found that induced a proliferative response in 16% of all donors tested. Responses corresponded to the presence of the HLA-DR2 haplotype. Responsive donors expressing the HLA-DQ6 allele showed an increased level of proliferation to the epitope as compared to peptide-responsive HLA-DQ6 negative donors. A similar result was found for HLA-DR15-expressing donors. PBMC from donors expressing HLA-DR15 were more likely to proliferate in response to IFN-beta in a whole-protein in vitro assay than donors who did not carry this haplotype. It is striking that the common DQ6 allele HLA-DQB1(*)0602 is found in linkage disequilibrium with HLA-DRB1(*)1501, and this combination defines the HLA genotype associated with the development of multiple sclerosis. The HLA association between a response to IFN-beta and MS might explain the prevalence of neutralizing antibody development, and may underlie the etiology of the disease.

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