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Autism Res Treat. 2012;2012:959073. doi: 10.1155/2012/959073. Epub 2012 Feb 15.

HLA Immune Function Genes in Autism.

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1
Center for Persons with Disabilities, Utah State University, 6804 Old Main Hill, Logan, UT 84322, USA.

Abstract

The human leukocyte antigen (HLA) genes on chromosome 6 are instrumental in many innate and adaptive immune responses. The HLA genes/haplotypes can also be involved in immune dysfunction and autoimmune diseases. It is now becoming apparent that many of the non-antigen-presenting HLA genes make significant contributions to autoimmune diseases. Interestingly, it has been reported that autism subjects often have associations with HLA genes/haplotypes, suggesting an underlying dysregulation of the immune system mediated by HLA genes. Genetic studies have only succeeded in identifying autism-causing genes in a small number of subjects suggesting that the genome has not been adequately interrogated. Close examination of the HLA region in autism has been relatively ignored, largely due to extraordinary genetic complexity. It is our proposition that genetic polymorphisms in the HLA region, especially in the non-antigen-presenting regions, may be important in the etiology of autism in certain subjects.

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