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Allergy. 2010 Nov;65(11):1367-75. doi: 10.1111/j.1398-9995.2010.02382.x. Epub 2010 Jun 16.

Mold-sensitivity in children with moderate-severe asthma is associated with HLA-DR and HLA-DQ.

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Department of Pediatrics, Saint Louis University, St. Louis, MO 63104, USA.



Several epidemiologic studies in the United States and Europe have linked Alternaria sensitivity to both persistence and severity of asthma. In this study, we examined T cell responses and HLA class II alleles in children with moderate-severe asthma.


Ninety-six children with moderate-severe asthma were compared to 90 children with mild asthma. HLA class II genotyping was performed to determine HLA allelic frequencies. Th1/Th2 Alternaria-specific T cell cytokine responses were determined by the use of Alternaria-stimulated cultures. HLA class II restriction was examined by inhibition of Alternaria-stimulated lymphoproliferative responses with blocking anti-HLA class II monoclonal antibodies.


Children with moderate-severe asthma had significantly increased sensitivities to Aspergillus fumigatus; sensitivities to Alternaria were similar in both moderate-severe and mild asthmatics. The frequency of HLA-DRB1*13 alleles were increased in mold-sensitive moderate-severe asthmatic children. HLA-DRB1*03 tended to be increased in mold-sensitive moderate-severe asthmatics. The frequency of HLA-DQB1*03 alleles was significantly decreased in mold and Alternaria-sensitive moderate-severe asthma. HLA class II blocking monoclonal antibodies demonstrated HLA-DR restriction. Alternaria-stimulated IL-5 and IL-13 synthesis was significantly increased in moderate-severe asthmatics. IL-5 and IL-13 synthesis was significantly increased in Alternaria-stimulated lymphocyte cultures of HLA-DQB1*03- asthmatics compared to HLA-DQB1*03+ asthmatics.


In children with Alternaria-sensitive moderate-severe asthma, there was increased Th2 sensitivity to Alternaria stimulation. This was associated with HLA-DR restriction and with increased frequency of HLA-DRB1*13 and HLA-DRB1*03. There was decreased frequency of HLA-DQB1*03 in Alternaria-sensitive moderate-severe asthma, suggesting HLA-DQB1*03 may be protective of the development of Alternaria-sensitive severe asthma.

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