The distribution of HLA class II susceptible/protective haplotypes could partially explain the low incidence of type 1 diabetes in continental Italy (Lazio region)

A Petrone, T L Bugawan, C A Mesturino, L Nisticò, A Galgani, G Giorgi, I Cascino, H A Erlich, U Di Mario, R Buzzetti
Tissue Antigens 2001, 58 (6): 385-94
HLA class II is the primary susceptibility gene to type 1 diabetes and the analysis of HLA class II association could help to clarify the relative weight of genetic contribution to the incidence of the disease. Here we present an extensive typing for HLA class II alleles and their haplotypes in a homogenous population of type 1 diabetic patients (n=134) and controls (n=128) and in simplex (n=100) and multiplex families (n=50) from continental Italy (Lazio region). Among the various haplotypes tested, the DRB1*0301-DQA1*0501-DQB1*0201 was the most frequent found in type 1 diabetic patients and was transmitted in 82% of affected siblings, whereas DRB1*0402-DQA1*0301-DQB1*0302 appeared to have the highest odds ratio (10.4), this haplotype was transmitted in 96.3% of affected siblings, followed by DRB1*0405-DQA1*0301-DQB1*0302, DRB1*0405-DQA1*0301-DQB1*0201, DRB1*0401-DQA1*0301-DQB1*0302 and DRB1*0404-DQA1*0301-DQB1*0302. The following haplotypes showed a significant decreased transmission to diabetic siblings: DRB1*0701-DQA1*0201-DQB1*0303, DR2-DQA1*01-DQB1*0602, DR5-DQA1*0501-DQB1*0301. We suggest that the HLA DR/DQ haplotype/genotype frequencies observed could in part explain the low incidence of type 1 diabetes registered in Lazio region (8.1/100.000/year), for a number of reasons: i) the low frequency, in the general control population, of the most susceptible haplotypes and genotype for type 1 diabetes DRB1*0301-DQA1*0501-DQB1*0201 (14%), and DR4-DQA1*0301-DQB1*0302 (9%) and DRB1*0301-DQA1*0501-DQB1*0201/DR4-DQA1*0301-DQB1*0302 (0.8%) compared to other countries characterised by high incidence rate of the disease, Sardinia and Finland, respectively; ii) a significant lower ratio, in the control population, between the susceptible DRB1*0301-DQA1*0501-DQB1*0201 and the neutral DRB1*0701-DQA1*0501-DQB1*0201 haplotypes compared to the Sardinian population; iii) the high frequency of protection haplotypes/genotypes as the DR5-DQA1*0501-DQB1*0301, and DR5-DQA1*0501-DQB1*0301/DR5-DQA1*0501-DQB1*0301 very common in the control population of Lazio region and the DRB1*1401-DQA1*0101-DQB1*0503 haplotype.

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