We conducted this study to determine the HLA class II allele associations in a large cohort of patients of homogeneous ethnic derivation with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). The large sample size allowed us to stratify patients according to their clinical and serologic characteristics. We studied 577 European Caucasian patients with SLE. Antinuclear antibodies (Hep-2 cells), anti-dsDNA antibodies (Crithidia luciliae), and antibodies to extractable nuclear antigens Ro (SS-A), La (SS-B), U1-RNP, Sm, Jo1, SCL70, and PCNA, were detected in all patients. Molecular typing of HLA-DRB1, DRB3, DQA1, and DQB1 loci was performed by the polymerase chain reaction-sequence specific oligonucleotide probes (PCR-SSOP) method. We found a significantly increased frequency of DRB1*03, DRB1*15, DRB1*16, DQA1*0102, DQB1*0502, DQB1*0602, DQB1*0201, DQB1*0303, and DQB1*0304 in lupus patients as compared with healthy controls. In addition, DRB1*03 was associated with anti-Ro, anti-La, pleuritis, and involvement of lung, kidney, and central nervous system. DRB1*15 and DQB1*0602 were associated with anti-dsDNA antibodies; DQB1*0201 with anti-Ro and anti-La, leukopenia, digital skin vasculitis, and pleuritis; and DQB1*0502 was associated with anti-Ro, renal involvement, discoid lupus, and livedo reticularis. In conclusion, our study shows some new HLA clinical and serologic associations in SLE and further confirms that the role of MHC genes is mainly to predispose to particular serologic and clinical manifestations of this disease.
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