European Journal of Dermatology


Investigation of the HLA-DRB1 locus in alopecia areata Volume 16, numéro 4, July-August 2006

Institute for Legal Medicine, Charité University Hospital, Berlin, Germany, Gene Mapping Center and Department of Molecular Genetics, Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine, Berlin, Germany, Department of Medical Genetics, University Hospital of Antwerp, Antwerp, Belgium, Institute of Human Genetics, University of Bonn, Bonn, Germany, Department of Dermatology, University Hospital of Antwerp, Antwerp, Belgium, Department of Dermatology, University Hospital of Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf, Germany, Cologne Center for Genomics, University of Cologne, Köln, Germany, Department of Genomics, Life & Brain Center, University of Bonn, Bonn, Germany

To further evaluate the nature of the HLA association with alopecia areata (AA), we investigated the HLA-DRB1 locus in 161 AA patients and 165 matched controls from Belgium and Germany. HLA-DRB1 typing was performed using a recently established method that employs a combination of PCR-SSP (sequence specific priming) and Pyrosequencing TM technology. No significant differences were observed for HLA allele groups DRB1 *01, *07, *08, *09, *10, *11, *13, *14, *15, and *16. HLA-DRB1*03 was found to confer a protective effect (7.5% versus 13.6%, p = 0.011). Additional genotyping at the allelic level revealed a significant difference in HLA-DRB1*0301 between patients and controls (6.8% versus 11.2%, p = 0.048). The DRB1*04 allele group was confirmed as a risk factor for the development of AA (20.8% versus 13.3%, p = 0.012), with the allele DRB1*0401 accounting for the greatest proportion of the effect (13.4% versus 7.3%, p = 0.014). Results obtained after subgrouping of the patients according to age at onset, severity and family history of the disease suggests that the genetic effects of the HLA system are strongest in familial cases of the disease.