HLA antigens and pANCA define ulcerative colitis as a genetically heterogeneous disorder

F. Perri, V. Annese, A. Piepoli, G. Napolitano, G. Lombardi, G. Ciavarella, G. Di Giorgio, A. Andriulli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background. Several genetic and subclinical markers have been associated with ulcerative colitis. Aim. To determine whether a significant association with HLA class I and II antigens was present in Italian ulcerative colitis patients considered as a whole population or stratified according to their anti-neutrophil cytoplasmatic antibodies. Methods. HLA class I and II antigens were studied by serological typing techniques and related to the presence of anti-neutrophil cytoplasmatic antibodies detected by means of indirect immunofluorescence. Results. Patients with ulcerative colitis (n = 45) had a significantly increased frequency of DQ6 (p = 0.04) and DQ7 (p = 0.003) and a decreased frequency of DQ5 (p = 0.03) and DQ8 (p = 0.02) when compared with ethnically matched healthy controls (n = 252 for HLA class I and 173 for HLA class II). No significant difference in HLA I- and DR-antigens was observed. Anti-neutrophil cytoplasmatic antibodies were found in 27/45 (60%) ulcerative colitis patients and in 0/252 controls (p <0.001). After stratifying ulcerative colitis patients according to their anti-neutrophil cytoplasmatic antibodies status, anti-neutrophil cytoplasmatic antibodies +ve patients had an increased frequency of AI9 (p = 0.007), DR2 (p = 0.03), and DR15 (p = 0.006), and a decreased frequency of AI (p = 0.004) compared with anti-neutrophil cytoplasmatic antibodies -ve ones. Conclusions. We suggest that specific HLA-class II loci play an important role in the susceptibility to ulcerative colitis in Italy. A subset of ulcerative colitis patients is characterised by the presence of a specific subclinical marker (anti-neutrophil cytoplasmatic antibodies) which seems to be genetically determined as shown by the increased frequencies of HLA-AI9 and DR2 observed in anti-neutrophil cytoplasmatic antibodies +ve ulcerative colitis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)56-61
Number of pages6
JournalItalian Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1998


  • ANCA
  • Genetics
  • HLA
  • IBD
  • Ulcerative colitis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology


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