Send to

Choose Destination
Mol Vis. 2011;17:3523-8. Epub 2011 Dec 29.

A study of KIR genes and HLA-C in Vogt-Koyanagi-Harada disease in Saudi Arabia.

Author information

Histocompatibility and Immunogenetics Research Unit, Stem Cell Therapy Program, King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Centre, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.



Vogt-Koyanagi-Harada (VKH) disease is a serious ocular inflammatory autoimmune insult directed against antigens associated with melanocytes. The repertoire of killer cell immunoglobulin-like receptors (KIRs) is known to play a significant role in the pathogenesis of various autoimmune disorders. Accordingly, we sought to determine the incidence of KIR genes and KIR ligand (Human leukocytes antigen [HLA-C]) interaction in a cohort of Saudi VKH patients and to compare the findings to normal controls.


A total of 30 patients with VKH and 125 control subjects were included. PCR using sequence-specific oligonucleotide primers were employed to determine the genotype of the KIR genes and HLA-C alleles.


The frequency of KIR2DS3 was significantly higher in the VKH patients than in the control group (p=0.048). Two unique genotypes; VKHN*1 and VKHN*2 were observed in the VKH patients and not in normal controls. In addition, the majority of the VKH patients (82%) in this study carry Bx genotypes that encode 2-5 activating KIR receptors. The genotype Bx5 was found to be positively associated with the VKH patients (p=0.053). Significantly higher homozygosity of HLA-C2 was observed in the VKH patients than in controls (p=0.005). Furthermore, HLA-C alleles-Cw*14 and Cw*17 were significantly prevalent in the VKH patients (p=0.037 and p=0.0001, respectively), whereas, Cw*15 significantly increased in the control group (p=0.0205). Among potential KIR-HLA interactions, we observed KIR2DL2/2DL3+HLA-C1 to be higher in the control subjects compared with the VKH patients (p=0.018).


Our findings indicated that KIR2DS3 and HLA-class I alleles (-Cw*14 and -Cw*17) may play a role in the pathogenesis of VKH disease. Additionally, the predominance of KIR2DL2/2DL3+HLA-C1 in the controls may imply that this KIR-ligand interaction could possibly play a role in the prevention of VKH disease, or could decrease its severity. These observations may contribute to our understanding of the pathogenesis of VKH and other autoimmune diseases.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Molecular Vision Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center