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Tissue Antigens. 2008 Jun;71(6):520-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1399-0039.2008.01037.x. Epub 2008 Mar 29.

HLA-G genotype and HLA-G expression in systemic lupus erythematosus: HLA-G as a putative susceptibility gene in systemic lupus erythematosus.

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Department of Experimental and Diagnostic Medicine, University of Ferrara, Ferrara, Italy.


Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is an autoimmune disease mainly mediated by the deposit of immune complexes and defects in T lymphocytes and antigen-presenting cells along with a high production of T-helper 2 cytokines. A tolerance-inducible function of nonclassical class Ib human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-G molecule in innate and adaptive cellular responses has been reported, suggesting a role in inflammatory diseases. A 14 bp sequence insertion/deletion polymorphism (rs16375) in the 3'-untranslated region of the HLA-G gene has been associated to the stability of HLA-G messenger RNA. The insertion of the 14 bp sequence seems to be associated with lower levels of soluble HLA-G (sHLA-G). The aim of this study was to evaluate the possible association of the presence of the 14 bp sequence (+14 bp) with SLE. We have HLA-G genotyped 200 SLE patients and 451 healthy control subjects (HS; Italian) and analyzed the plasma levels of sHLA-G and interleukin-10 (IL-10) in a subset of SLE patients and healthy subjects (Italian and Danish). A significant increase of the +14 bp HLA-G allele was detected in the Italian SLE patients compared with HS [P = 0.003, OR 1.44 (95% CI 1.13-1.82)]. A significant increased frequency of HLA-G +14/+14 bp and a decreased frequency of HLA-G -14/-14 bp were observed in SLE patients. There median concentration of sHLA-G was significantly lower in the plasma of SLE patients compared with that in the plasma of healthy controls (P < 0.0001). Furthermore, the results confirmed higher concentrations of IL-10-positive plasma in SLE patients. These results support a potential role for HLA-G in the susceptibility of SLE.

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