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Arthritis Res Ther. 2007;9(3):R58.

HLA class II DR and DQ genotypes and haplotypes associated with rheumatic fever among a clinically homogeneous patient population of Latvian children.

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Department of Pediatrics, Riga Stradins University, Vienîbas gatve 45, Riga, LV1004, Latvia.


The HLA system is being paid more and more attention because it is very significant in polymorphous immunological reactions. Several studies have suggested that genetic susceptibility to rheumatic fever (RF) and rheumatic heart disease (RHD) is linked to HLA class II alleles. We hypothesized that HLA class II associations within RHD may be more consistent if analysed amongst patients with a relatively homogeneous clinical outcome. A total of 70 RF patients under the age of 18 years were surveyed and analysed in Latvia. HLA genotyping of DQA1, DQB1 and DRB1 was performed using PCR with amplification with sequence-specific primers. We also used results from a previous study of DQB1 and DRB1 genotyping. In the RF patients, HLA class II DQA1*0401 was found more frequently compared to DQA1*0102. In the RF homogeneous patient groups, DQA1*0402 has the highest odds ratio. This is also the case in the multivalvular lesion (MVL) group, together with DQA1*0501 and DQA1*0301. In the chorea minor patients, DQA1*0201 was often found. Significant HLA DQA1 protective genotypes were not detected, although DQA1 genotypes *0103/*0201 and *0301/*0501 were found significantly and frequently. In the distribution of HLA DRB1/DQA1 genotypes, *07/*0201 and *01/*0501 were frequently detected; these also occurred significantly often in the MVL group. The genotype *07/*0201 was frequently found in Sydenhamn's chorea patients that had also acquired RHD, but DRB1*04/DQA1*0401 was often apparent in RF patients without RHD. In the distribution of HLA DQA1/DQB1 genotypes, both in RF patients and in the homogeneous patient groups, the least frequent were *0102/*0602-8. The genotype DQA1*0501 with the DQB1 risk allele *0301 was often found in the MVL group. The genotype *0301/*0401-2 was frequently found in the RF and Sydenhamn's chorea patient groups. The haplotype *07-*0201-*0302 was frequently found in RF and homogeneous patient groups, including the MVL group. In addition, haplotypes *04-*0401-*0301 and *04-*0301-*0401-2 were frequent amongst patients with Sydenhamn's chorea. The protective alleles DQA1*0102 and DQB1*0602-8 in the haplotype DRB1*15 were less frequently found in RF patients. The results of the present study support our hypothesis and indicate that certain HLA class II haplotypes are associated with risk for or protection against RHD and that these associations are more evident in patients in clinically homogeneous groups.

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