Human leukocyte antigen (HLA) alleles, regulating type and intensity of the immune response, might influence life expectancy. In previous case-control studies the authors have demonstrated that both HLA-DR and -DQ alleles are not associated with longevity in the Sardinian population. On the other hand, association studies are subjected (as part of the homogeneity of the population in terms of geographic origin) to a number of possible confounding factors. Therefore, the authors typed the HLA-DQA1 and HLA-DQB1 alleles in 24 sibs (age range 85 to 97) of 17 centenarians by PCR-SSP. Sib pair analysis showed non-significant differences between the observed and expected percentage of DQA* or DQB1* allele sharing. Therefore, these data strengthen the view that class II HLA genes have a marginal effect, if any, on the complex longevity trait.
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