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J Invest Dermatol. 1997 Nov;109(5):615-8.

HLA-DRB1*04 and DRB1*14 alleles are associated with susceptibility to pemphigus among Japanese.

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  • 1Department of Dermatology, Nara Medical University, Japan.


It has previously been demonstrated that susceptibility to pemphigus vulgaris is associated with human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-DR4 serologic specificity among Ashkenase Jews, and with DR4 as well as DR6 (DR14) in other ethnic groups. We genotyped HLA-DRB1, DQA1, DQB1, and DPB1 alleles in 16 patients with pemphigus by polymerase chain reaction-restriction fragment length polymorphism, to find evidence of potential HLA class II allele associations with pemphigus in Japanese patients who have a relatively homogeneous ethnic background. All nine patients with pemphigus vulgaris and five of seven patients with pemphigus foliaceus carried one or two alleles of HLA-DRB1*04 (*0403, *0406) and HLA-DRB1*14 (*1401, *1405, *1406) subtypes. Sequence analysis of these DRB1*04 and DRB1*14 alleles revealed the amino acid homology of phenylalanine at position 26 and valine at position 86 with the DRB1*0402 allele that reportedly confers a strong susceptibility to pemphigus vulgaris in Ashkenazi Jews. Thus our findings, together with previous HLA studies on pemphigus vulgaris patients of different ethnic groups, suggest that HLA-DRB1*04 and DRB1*14 alleles are commonly associated with pemphigus vulgaris across racial barriers. These HLA-DRB1 alleles are likely to be also associated with pemphigus foliaceus. Further studies on more diverse ethnic populations will be helpful in determining the significance of the association between certain amino acid residues of the class II molecules and disease susceptibility to pemphigus vulgaris as well as pemphigus foliaceus.

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