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J Infect Dis. 1989 Mar;159(3):549-55.

Association of tuberculosis and M. tuberculosis-specific antibody levels with HLA.

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Medical Research Council Tuberculosis and Related Infections Unit, Royal Postgraduate Medical School, Hammersmith Hospital, London.


In the search for HLA-linked immune response genes that control susceptibility to tuberculosis, we performed HLA typing and measured antibody titers to well-defined Mycobacterium tuberculosis antigenic determinants in 101 patients with sputum smear-positive pulmonary tuberculosis and 64 healthy controls from Surabaya, Indonesia. HLA-DR2 and DQw1 were associated with sputum smear-positive pulmonary tuberculosis (attributable risk = 36% and 39%, respectively), while DQw3 was associated even more strongly with the control group (preventive fraction = 57%). Antibody titers to the TB71 and TB72 epitopes of the 38-kDa protein, present only on tubercle bacilli, were strongly associated with DR2 (Pcorr = .001 and .024, respectively). The association of both the disease and the antibody response to the 38-kDa antigen of M. tuberculosis with Class II HLA genes HLA-DR2 indicates that Ir-gene-mediated regulation of the immune response to this antigen may be of pathogenic significance for the development of sputum smear-positive tuberculosis.

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