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J Clin Invest. 1995 Dec;96(6):2732-4.

Immunoglobulin kappa chain allotypes (KM) in onchocerciasis.

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Department of Microbiology, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston 29425, USA.


GM and KM allotypes, powerful tools for genetic characterization of human populations, have been shown to play an important role in genetic predisposition to some infectious diseases. Two diverse racial groups--Afro-Ecuadorians and Amerindians--living in a single restricted geographical area of Ecuador, appear to have different risk factors for acquisition and clinical expression of onchocerciasis, a disease caused by the filarial parasite Onchocerca volvulus. In this study, GM and KM allotypes were determined in 25 Afro-Ecuadorians and 24 Amerindians infected with Onchocerca volvulus (INF) and in putative immune individuals (PI). In Afro-Ecuadorians, the frequency of the homozygous KM 3 phenotype was significantly decreased in INF as compared with the PI group (20 vs. 68%; P= 0.0012), while the frequency of the heterozygous KM 1,3 phenotype was increased in INF as compared with the PI subjects (48 vs. 9%; P= 0.0044). These results suggest that in Afro-Ecuadorians KM 3 is associated with a lower relative risk (resistance), whereas KM 1,3 is associated with an increased risk (susceptibility) of onchocerciasis.

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